Rassie Erasmus set to be named South Africa head coach

The worst-kept secret in South African rugby could be revealed on Wednesday with the official naming of Johan ‘Rassie’ Erasmus as Springboks coach.

Allister Coetzee was sacked earlier this month after winning 11 of 25 Tests and it has been accepted that South Africa director of rugby Erasmus will take over.

The 45-year-old former Springbok loose forward and the country’s rugby officials have remained silent, but on Monday an SA Rugby media release promised a “major announcement” in Johannesburg on Wednesday and the assumption is that Erasmus will be confirmed as coach.

He has already been acting as national coach, travelling to Europe and watching future opponents England beat Wales in the Six Nations.

Erasmus also reportedly visited Japan, the 2019 Rugby World Cup hosts, to inspect accommodation and training facilities.

South Africa are ranked sixth in the world behind world champions New Zealand, England, Ireland, Australia and Scotland.

Their season begins on June 2 with a one-off Test against Wales in Washington, before then hosting England in a three-match series.

Home and away Rugby Championship fixtures against Argentina, Australia and New Zealand follow before an unfinalised tour to Europe, which will include another Test against England.

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Erasmus, who quit as director of rugby at Munster last year, faces a herculean task as South Africa have plumbed the depths during the past two seasons.

Under Coetzee the team set a number of unwanted record including a 57-0 thrashing in New Zealand last year, the heaviest loss suffered by South Africa since their 1891 international debut.

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In 2016, the All Blacks won 57-15 in Durban to inflict the biggest home defeat on the Springboks. They also lost to Italy, at home to Ireland and away to Argentina for the first times.