Rassie Erasmus to keep his distance due to health concerns

Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus will be working remotely even as the national team group comes together for the Springbok Showdown due to health concerns.

Rassie Erasmus to work from home

Erasmus was diagnosed with microscopic polyangiitis with granulomatosis in early 2019, keeping the rare auto-immune disease a secret throughout the build-up to and eventual triumph at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The condition puts Erasmus at risk of serious complications should he contract the respiratory disease COVID-19 and as such he will not come into contact with squad members during the preparation for the Springbok Showdown at Newlands on Saturday 3 October.

“Due to a pre-existing health condition, Rassie Erasmus, South Africa’s director of rugby, will continue to work remotely to minimise his risk during the pandemic and will therefore not be with Team Green during the build up to the Castle Lager Springbok Showdown, nor at the match on Saturday.

“Erasmus was diagnosed in 2018 with a rare condition that causes inflammation of the blood vessels including in the throat and lungs, which increases vulnerability to the impact of a potential COVID-19 infection.

“The condition is managed but until all risk is eliminated, Erasmus will continue to work remotely,” an SA Rugby press release read.

While battling the condition Erasmus has had to undergo chemotherapy which, according to his doctor, Johan Theron, weakened him significantly.

“Rassie was weak and not himself while he was receiving the treatment. At one stage he really doubted whether he could continue in his position as Springbok coach,” Theron revealed in June 2020.

Springboks the focus

The condition is now believed to be under control with SA Rugby confident Erasmus will be able to fulfil the duties of director of Springbok rugby.

“Rassie was treated for a serious condition in 2019, from which he has recovered,” an SA Rugby spokesperson said when queried about the condition of Erasmus earlier this year.

“He thanks people for their concern but wishes to keep the matter private.”

Erasmus trusted the core of his Springbok squad with the secret of his illness but didn’t allow it to affect his performances at all according to former Bok flank Francois Louw.

“He coached us for 18 months and throughout the process nobody was really aware of the illness,” Louw told Sport24. 

“It never affected his passion or vision. That tells you a lot about the man.

“Everybody has their own problems to handle and that’s something that he pointed out a lot in team discussions, especially what pressure involves. It puts things in context. For Rassie, the only thing that mattered was to get the Bok team into the best condition and in that he regard he passed.

“I don’t think we as a team were aware. I knew about it. Rassie’s way of handling it was to not let the squad get concerned about it. Rassie is a tough guy. There is a reason why he played Test rugby.

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