Rassie Erasmus reveals he nearly resigned ahead of 2021 Lions series

Rassie Erasmus reveals he nearly resigned ahead of 2021 Lions series

South Africa's Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus wrote to then SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux in 2021 that he and Jacques Nienaber would be resigning from their roles.

This bombshell revelation was revealed in Erasmus' new book, Rassie: Stories of Life and Rugby.

In the book, Erasmus revealed that he was unhappy over the Boks' lack of match practice ahead of the British and Irish Lions series due to Covid restrictions.

It was a controversial tour that took place in the midst of the pandemic, where no fans were in attendance and protocols were strict.

Regulations that were in place at the time threatened the South Africa 'A' warm-up match from going ahead.

Had that not taken place, Erasmus felt they would have lacked the requisite game time to compete with the tourists.

That prompted the director of rugby to send a warning to the chief executive at the time, stating that he and Nienaber would resign if the issue wasn't resolved.

"This is probably where the tour started turning sour," Erasmus wrote.

"I called a group of players and the management to my room and asked them to trust me. I said we couldn't continue under the current situation where we were stuck in the hotel while the Lions were playing rugby.

"I said, 'How the f*** are we going to play against the Lions if we don't play this SA A game in Cape Town?' We were going to get a beating because we weren't match-fit and needed that game before the Tests.

"I then wrote a letter to Jurie Roux in which I told him that Jacques and I were resigning because we couldn't just throw away the Springboks' name like that.

"I said we were in an impossible situation, and while I knew that we were on life support financially and SA Rugby needed the series to go ahead, we couldn't carry on."

Eventually, it was sorted out and the Springboks would go on to win the series 2-1, despite going down to a defeat in the first match.

Both Erasmus and Nienaber have remained in their respective positions since then as the Boks seek to defend the World Cup title in France.

"We were saying that he could find new coaches, but we weren't the people who would be irresponsible and put the Springboks up against international opposition and get 50 points scored against us because we hadn't played enough rugby," Erasmus added.