All you need to know about Rassie Erasmus, the former Springbox head coach

All you need to know about Rassie Erasmus, the former Springbox head coach

Kevin Omuya
February 18, 2024 at 2:28 PM

Rassie provides a vital glimpse into the life of one of the most influential people in modern rugby. From his groundbreaking coaching career to the tragic injuries that ended his playing career, read on to learn about his involvement with Nick Mallett's record-breaking Springbok team in the late 1990s.

Rassie Erasmus, South African rugby head coach
South Africa director of rugby Rassie at Twikenham (left). On the right is him before the Bank of Ireland Nations Series match against Ireland. Photo: Brendan Moran/David Rogers (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Rassie Erasmus coached the Cheetahs, Stormers, Munster, and the South African national team after a stint as a flanker for the Springboks. He won the Rugby World Cup and the Rugby Championship with the Boks in 2019, and they were ranked first in the world by Rugby.

Profile summary



Full name

Johan "Rassie" Erasmus



Date of birth

November 5, 1972

Place of birth

Despatch, Cape Province, South Africa


51 years old as of 2024


South African




1.91m (6'3")


90kg (220lbs)

Marital status







Professional rugby head coach

Current team

South African Rugby Union

Social media


Rassie Erasmus' biography

Rassie Erasmus's biography
Top 5 facts about Rassie Erasmus. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images (modified by author)
Source: Original

Erasmus was born on 5 November 1972 in Despatch, a small town in the Eastern Cape. He is 51 years old as at the time of writing. His listed height is 1.91m (6'3"), and he weighs 90kg (220lbs).

Where does Rassie Erasmus live?

Erasmus, a prominent flanker for the Free State Cheetahs, was born and raised in Despatch, where he also learned the game of rugby. He lives with his family in South Africa.

What happened to Rassie Erasmus?

After a freak accident left South Africa's director of rugby, Rassie Erasmus, with chemical burns, he was admitted to the hospital. However, the team is expecting him back soon. Erasmus, who has guided the Springboks to consecutive Rugby World Cup victories, has received treatment but is not currently facing severe health risks. South African Rugby said

"After undergoing a medical procedure for chemical burns caused by an accidental exposure to a powerful detergent product, Rassie Erasmus is currently recovering in the hospital. Fortunately, he is in good health overall and is expected to resume full-time work within the next few weeks."

Playing career

Rassie Rasmus in his playing career
Rassie Erasmus (13) had a brilliant career in Rugby. Photo: Ross Setford
Source: Getty Images

Rassie Erasmus has led the Springboks to victory in the Rugby World Cup and is famous for his adventurous coaching career. The Springbok and rugby genius began playing the sport when it became officially recognized as a professional sport.

Rather than considering a professional career in his beloved sport, he wanted to play for fun. Thanks to his enthusiasm and daring attitude, he embarked on a journey he had never imagined.

In 1994, Rassie Erasmus made her rugby provincial team debut for the Cheetahs. Several teams, such as the Stormers and the Lions, were on his radar as he played rugby. In 1998, after finishing second the previous year and third at the 1999 Rugby World Cup, he joined the Springbok team that won the Tri-Nations.

In 2000 and 2001, the Lions made it to the semi-finals of the Super 12 (now Super Rugby), thanks to the entrepreneurial Rassie Erasmus. He immediately transitioned from playing for the Cape Town franchise, the Stormers, in 2003 to coaching for his previous club, the Cheetahs.

Coaching career

Rassie Rasmus
Munster technical coach Felix Jones (left) and director of rugby Rassie Erasmus, during a training session. Photo: Diarmuid Greene
Source: Getty Images

The following year, under the guidance of the magical coach, his hometown team won the Currie Cup and advanced to the Vodacom Cup semifinals. Nothing separated the teams at the end of extra time the following year, so he shared the championship with the Bulls.

However, he did retain the title. After that, Rassie Erasmus coached the Stormers and Western Province. He also spent time with the Springboks as a specialist and technical advisor while they prepared for the World Cup.

After spending a few years abroad at Munster, he returned to South Africa to lead the Springboks to Rugby World Cup glory. In his first international test as coach, Rassie gave 13 players their first test caps, which revealed his goals for the team and continued his reputation for innovation.

For the sake of the team's future, he set out to cultivate an environment of humility, trust, and consistency among the players, coaches, and fans. Rassie Erasmus pushed for a more physical style of play, capitalizing on the traditional strengths of the Springboks. The 2019 Rugby World Cup victory by the Springboks was a memory-making payoff for South Africa.

Is Rassie Erasmus Married?

Rassie with his wife after a Rugby final
Rassie Erasmus of South Africa and his wife after the Rugby World Cup 2019 Final match against England on November 02, 2019, in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Juan Jose Gasparini
Source: UGC

A former nurse named Nicolene is Rassie Erasmus's wife. For more than two decades, the happy couple has been wed. Nikki, Carli, and Janie are the couple's three daughters. Carli and Nikki are twins.

Rassie Erasmus' book

With the help of famous writer, broadcaster, and raconteur David O'Sullivan, Erasmus—now the director of rugby for South African Rugby—wrote a book titled Rassie: Stories of Life and Rugby, which is set to be released in July or August. "Stories of Life and Rugby" is Rassie's candid account of his unbelievable and otherwise travels.

He opens up about the challenges of growing up in the conservative town of Despatch and dealing with his drunken father. He had a stellar playing career, distinguished by his natural rugby instincts, unique game-reading abilities, and insatiable work ethic.

Rassie reflects on his rise to prominence during the late 1990s when he was a key component of Nick Mallett's record-setting Springbok squad. The pain of the 1999 World Cup and the tragic injuries that ended his playing career are still fresh in his mind. He talks about his unconventional coaching style, which was mocked at first but later embraced, his battles with the Stormers' rugby establishment, and his gradual but steady rise to the respect of Munster's Irish fans.

Without much drama or controversy, Rassie appointed South Africa's first black captain, Siya Kolisi, and the national team's bold plans for effective racial transformation immediately succeeded, leading to victory at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. This was Rassie's most significant contribution to the sport of rugby.

Where is Rassie Erasmus going?

For the upcoming cycle leading up to the 2027 World Cup in Australia, Erasmus will serve as head coach and director. Following last year's victory in France, Jacques Nienaber departed for Leinster, leaving the position vacant. Erasmus oversaw the 2019 Boks' victory in the Japan tournament while serving as both coach and director of rugby.

Rassie Erasmus poses with an award
Siya Kolisi (left) and Rassie Erasmus of the Springboks, together with the Nathi Mthethwa (right) posing with a trophy on November 05, 2019, in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo: Sydney Seshibedi
Source: Getty Images

Net worth and salary

Estimates place Erasmus' wealth somewhere between $1 million and $5 million, according to Demzyportal and SurpriseSports. He was a standout player and coach throughout his time in the sport. He reportedly earns millions of dollars as head coach of the South African national team.

Social media presence

Despite being tagged in multiple posts, Rassie Erasmus is unavailable on Instagram. Nevertheless, he has amassed more than 187,000 Twitter followers.

Final word

Rassie Erasmus personifies the essence of South African rugby through his rise from a tenacious player to an innovative coach and team leader. His knack for shaking things up, coming up with new approaches, and bringing together diverse teams has reignited the nation's passion for the sport. Erasmus has left an indelible mark on the soul of South African rugby as a coach, mentor, and visionary.

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Kevin Omuya
Kevin Omuya is a Content Writer with 4 years of experience who joined Sports Brief in 2022. In 2019 he held a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism & Digital Media from KCA University.
South African Rugby Union (SARU)