- Springbok flank Francois Louw says Rassie Erasmus showed no signs of serious illness while coaching the national team.
- It has been revealed that Erasmus faced a potentially life-threatening health scare which required chemotherapy before and during last year’s Rugby World Cup.
- Louw, who has since retired, was one of a handful of players who knew the Bok mentor was sick.
Former Springbok flank Francois Louw says Rassie Erasmus showed no signs of serious illness while coaching the team to Rugby World Cup glory.
Afrikaans newspaper Rapport indicated over the weekend that Erasmus faced a potentially life-threatening health scare which required chemotherapy before and during the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
According to Netwerk24, senior campaigner Louw was one of a handful of players who knew the Bok mentor was sick.
But Louw, who recently retired from professional rugby, told the Afrikaans publication that it was never clearly obvious to the squad that something was wrong with Erasmus.
“Rassie is the type of person that doesn’t want everybody to just talk about him, because his outlook is that everything is about the team’s success and not individual issues.
“He is the type of person that doesn’t look for sympathy or empathy. His inner circle was obviously aware of it. In terms of his work as a head coach, you could never tell that anything was wrong with him.”
Louw said that during the 18 months Erasmus coached the team “nobody was really aware of the illness”.
“I don’t think we as a team were aware. I knew about it. Rassie’s way of handling it was to not let the squad get concerned about it. Rassie is a tough guy. There is a reason why he played Test rugby.”
The report stated that 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.
“Rassie was treated for a serious condition in 2019, from which he has recovered,” a SA Rugby spokesperson confirmed to Sport24.
“He thanks people for their concern but wishes to keep the matter private.”
– Compiled by Sport24 staff