Springboks

Rassie underwent chemotherapy for rare disease during 2019 World Cup - report

Rassie Erasmus (Getty Images)
Rassie Erasmus (Getty Images)

Springbok director of rugby Rassie Erasmus faced a potentially life-threatening health scare in 2019 that required chemotherapy before and during the Rugby World Cup in Japan. 

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According to a Rapport article on Sunday, Erasmus was diagnosed with microscopic polyangiitis with granulomatosis - a rare autoimmune disease - in early 2019. 

The disease is not cancerous but it can severely impact the lungs, kidneys, sinuses and trachea and Erasmus is understood to have suffered a rare strain of the disease that, according to his doctor Johan Theron, was potentially fatal. 

According to the report, Erasmus continued with the treatment until March 2020 and it was considered successful. 

"Rassie was treated for a serious condition in 2019, from which he has recovered," a SA Rugby spokesperson confirmed to Sport24 on Sunday.

"He thanks people for their concern but wishes to keep the matter private."

The report adds that, during the World Cup, Erasmus' chemotherapy doses were lowered so that he could give his full attention to the Springboks. 

"He really doubted at one stage whether he would be able to push through with his position as Springbok coach," Theron said.

After winning the World Cup, Erasmus stood down as head coach of the Springboks and moved into his role as director of rugby on a full-time basis, handing the coaching reins to Jacques Nienaber. 

- Compiled by Sport24 staff 

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