I can’t wait to see Faf de Klerk vs ‘bull terrier’ Antoine Dupont

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After famously leading the Springboks to the 2019 Rugby World Cup title, Rassie Erasmus has moved into a new role as director of rugby, and oversaw the famous 2-1 series win against the British & Irish Lions last year.

Although Jacques Nienaber is the designated head coach, Erasmus will be heavily involved in the planning of the Springboks’ World Cup title defence next year.

It increasingly looks like France will be the out-and-out favourites at their home tournament in 2023, with Les Bleus having clinched the Six Nations title in style after powering to a Grand Slam success this season.

READ | RASSIE ERASMUS: I WOULD LOVE TO SEE THE SPRINGBOKS IN THE SIX NATIONS!

Rassie Erasmus, who has now started a first-hand column for the UK’s Sportsmail, touched on the challenge that he expects to face from Fabien Galthie’s French team, which includes the likes of reigning World Player of the Year Antoine Dupont.

“Everybody can see that France are red hot. Everybody knows France are the favourites. Everybody can see Antoine Dupont is a bull terrier. I can’t wait to see him against Faf de Klerk. France’s coach Fabien Galthie spent a week with me at Munster. He would come in at 6am and he would play soccer barefoot with the college kids at lunch. There was passion in the man. I knew he was a smart coach.”

The SA director of rugby also spoke highly of England and coach Eddie Jones.

“England are getting a lot of criticism but they will be strong at the World Cup. Don’t tell me Eddie has suddenly become a bad coach. He is a good rugby man who texted me when I was in trouble with World Rugby. I admire him in a weird kind of way. I don’t agree with all of his strategies in the media but that’s not to say I’m right and he’s wrong. He made a lot of changes to his team recently but I’m sure he has a plan for the World Cup.”

“Italy beating Wales obviously closed a lot of arguments about them being kicked out of the Six Nations. Let’s hope they go from strength to strength now, then it’s great for rugby. I would still love to see South Africa in the Six Nations, but I think that would only be a scenario if the competition expanded to seven teams.”

Notably, when touching on another subject, highlighted the logic behind allowing players to head abroad and remain available for national selection.

“People say South Africa are stupid for allowing our players to leave. Is it stupid? Look at England, there are six or seven South African players taking the places of young English players at Premiership clubs. For us, it’s wonderful. Among about 32 players we are looking at, they’re probably earning 400 million rand that doesn’t have to come off our accounts. Meanwhile, back in South Africa, we have the next South African lock coming through because there is no financial incentive for players to come here. Is it good for England that Faf de Klerk is starting ahead of Raffi Quirke at Sale? No. Is it good for South Africa? Yes, it works for us.”

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