Springbok hero Cheslin Kolbe says that Rassie Erasmus brought a level of respect back to the national jersey last year.
The 27-year-old, who was a try scorer in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final win over England in Yokohama back in November, has also been in scintillating form for French club Toulouse this season and he is currently one of the form players in the global game.
He was at it again this past weekend, scoring off the bench in his return match from a hip injury that had kept him out for around six weeks.
After that match, Kolbe was asked to talk about the impact that Erasmus had on his career.
Considered by many to be too small for international rugby despite his obvious talent, Kolbe was eventually given his call-up in 2018 ahead of that year's Rugby Championship in a move that took many by surprise.
The rest, as they say, is history and Kolbe has been one of the brightest Bok stars ever since.
"Rassie is a coach who I have so much respect for," Kolbe said at an online function where we was unveiled as an ambassador for Momentum.
"He is not only the coach who gave me an opportunity to wear the green and gold, but you will not find a more humble coach than Rassie. He is a coach who is there for South Africa, the Springboks and the players."
Kolbe said that Erasmus' understanding of the importance of what the Boks to the country was a major factor in the coach's decision to return to South Africa in 2018.
"His biggest thing was to just get the respect of the Springbok jersey back, especially with what happened the year before" said Kolbe.
"People had lost their respect and pride for the Springbok jersey. That is what he fought for ... to regain that respect from South Africans and people all over the world."
Since winning the World Cup, Erasmus has moved full-time into his new role as director of rugby with Jacques Nienaber having taken over as head coach.
- Compiled by Sport24 staff