Cape Town - SA Rugby has pledged its support for Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus following the conclusion of the team’s 2018 Test season.
The Springboks ended their campaign on a low note by losing 20-11 to Wales in Cardiff over the weekend.
It gave Erasmus a 50% win-record from 14 Tests.
“We are happy with the resurgence of the Springboks under Rassie Erasmus and his coaching team and we believe we are heading in the right direction as part of our preparation for the Rugby World Cup in 2019,” SA rugby president Mark Alexander said via a press statement on Monday.
While Erasmus may have won only half of his Tests, there were notable scalps in beating the All Blacks in New Zealand and a 2-1 home series win over England.
Alexander, meanwhile, also had high praise for Springbok wing Aphiwe Dyantyi, who won the World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year Award in Monaco on Sunday night.
"Despite his limited experience at international level, Aphiwe never looked out of place in the Springbok jersey and he made an immediate impact, scoring a try on debut for the Boks against England in June.
"It was his two tries in Wellington though, when the Boks beat the All Blacks in New Zealand for the first time in nine years, that will be remembered the best for his superb debut Test season.
"He finished as the joint top try-scorer in the Rugby Championship, which is a wonderful achievement for a rookie Test player. We are all very proud of him and can’t wait to see more of the same in 2019," Alexander said.
Although they didn't claim awards, Alexander also congratulated the other South African nominees - Malcolm Marx and Faf de Klerk (World Rugby Player of the Year), Erasmus (Coach of the Year), the Springboks (Team of the Year).
Alexander said these nominations point to the Springboks’ being on track for next year’s World Cup in Japan.
Ireland won the Team of the Year award, their flyhalf Johnny Sexton won the Player of the Year award and coach Joe Schmidt bagged the Coach of the Year award.