01/03/2018 13:20 SAST | Updated 01/03/2018 13:20 SAST

Who's Rassie Erasmus, The New Springbok Coach?

South African Rugby Union has announced that Rassie Erasmus will coach the Springboks as the new head coach in a lucrative five-year deal.

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The South African Rugby Union (Saru) has announced that Rassie Erasmus will be getting the Springboks in shape as the new head coach, with a lucrative five-year deal.

The announcement was made on Thursday, following the sacking of Allister Coetzee in February. Erasmus will now take over the helm, and will combine his coaching duties with his current role as director of rugby at SA Rugby.

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"It is a huge task to coach the Springboks, and I am very privileged. I really believe we have the players and the rugby IP [intellectual property] to turn things around and to mount a serious challenge at next year's Rugby World Cup," said Erasmus.

The 45-year-old has 18 tests and just under 600 days left until the IRB World Cup in Japan 2019, and he said "planning has already gone into our Rugby World Cup preparation".

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Erasmus, who is a former hard-hitting Bok himself, will face arguably one of his toughest challenges in rugby. What do we know about him?

Springbok career

Erasmus was born in Despatch in Eastern Cape, and was a hard hitter during his Bok years. He has also captained the side – against Australia in Brisbane in 1999.

Total Springbok matches: 39 (36 Tests, three tour matches)

Positions: Flank and eighth man

Test debut: July 5, 1997 vs the British and Irish Lions in Johannesburg, aged 24

Last Test: June 23, 2001 vs France in Durban, aged 28

Win ratio: 27-9-0

Coaching career

After retiring from playing rugby, Erasmus went on to take up a coaching role. In 2004 he was chosen to coach the Toyota Free State Cheetahs.

2004: Coach – Toyota Free State Cheetahs (Vodacom Cup).

2005-2007: Head coach – Toyota Free State Cheetahs (won the Currie Cup in 2005 and shared it in 2006 with the Vodacom Blue Bulls).

2007: Technical advisor to the Springboks.

2008-2010: Director of coaching and head coach – DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province.

2011: Technical specialist – Springboks (Rugby World Cup).

2012-2016: SA Rugby general manager: high-performance teams / rugby department.

2016-2017: Director of rugby and head coach – Munster (won Guinness Pro12 Coach of the Season award in 2017).

November 2017: Appointed as director of rugby at SA Rugby.

March 2018: Appointed Springboks head coach.

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South Africans took to Twitter to express their opinions on the new coach – as always, opinions were mixed: