How world sees SA: Rassie Erasmus team talk to ‘bully’ rugby players goes viral. #2020 in review

An unseen video of Springbok rugby coach Rassie Erasmus giving a locker room team talk has recently gone viral. He urges rugby players to bully the opposition. The New Zealand Herald, which has shared it widely, describes the session as powerful and inspiring. Others may wonder whether they are watching a parody. Rob Opie, a performance consultant who regularly shares insights from the world of sport to the rest of life, sizes up the Rassie Erasmus style of motivation and explains why it might have been appropriate for the occasion but is not the best approach to get the Springboks in the right frame of mind for the British Lions tour. – Jackie Cameron

Warning: Explicit language – please do not read on or watch the video if bad language is offensive to you.

* South Africa beat England to lift the trophy in 2019. 

Rob Opie: Rassie Erasmus pep talk was right for the time, but not right for British Lions tour

Yes, I have seen that video. Sure was something .

Rassie gave us all a MASTERCLASS in Japan, but I’m sure he sees that speech as just a point in time.

Physical and mental disintegration tactics are never sustainable in sport.

What Rassie did so well was how he inspired the team from within (internal) – relying less on motivation (external). The culture was right before they put foot on Japanese soil.

To win rugby test matches you have to have a strong front row and at least ONE enforcer in the pack – in that game we had three enforcers in Duane, Eben and Malcolm. They were always going to out muscle Japan – with or without Rassie’s strong change room words of belief.

Rassie drives the team foremost on PURPOSE; much like you guys are big on purpose at BIZNEWS.

The 2019 Springboks had very high level  game plan that saw  that their  PURPOSE, PRIORITIES & PERFORMANCE GOALS  were all  tightly aligned and congruent  –  and underpinned with  a strong set of values .

This makes (or breaks) the CULTURE of any team.

Rassie’s speech was at the RIGHT time – RIGHT place – but certainly not RIGHT for the incoming BRITISH LIONS tour in mid 2021.


Mental or physical disintegration tactics used on opponents can so easily BACKFIRE ON SELF – when someone over steps the mark.

We saw this with Daryl Lehman’s coaching of Aussie cricket. Their mental disintegration tactics eventually backfired. It played out when Smith & Warner took it to far, getting banned from cricket for one year. The Aussie team culture had gone down the wrong road, thinking and believing that they could only get back to NO1 in the world if the pushed the boundaries against opponents – in their case sledging – and then finally just cheating.

You must play the game REAL HARD, but with the ultimate respect for your opponents – that is SPORT at its best.

Rassie will no doubt hatch a next level plan for 2021.

It will be big on PURPOSE, PRIORITIES and PERFORMANCE GOALS – but less focused on the total physical onslaught against opponents.

His focus will probably turn to how the British Lions Tour only comes around every 12 years. This means that some Springboks never ever get the chance to play against the British Lions. This is a one of a kind tour – an opportunity of a life time – for the selected Springboks to live out their purpose in what will be one of the best tours ever…….

Their purpose: “To entertain. To educate and to enrich a nation in desperate need of inspiration post Covid.

The Boks will be hungry. The Lions will be equally hungry in wanting to knock over the WORLD CHAMPS, in front of their passionate travelling fans.

We need to welcome them all to SA.

We need to enjoy it all together.

We are in for a cracker-jack British Lions tour.

Cannot wait.

Read also: MAILBOX: Look out world, South Africa is going to bounce back – Rob Opie

This is how the New Zealand Herald reported on the video

Rugby: Unseen video of Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus’ powerful team talk ahead of World Cup clash with Japan

NZ Herald

 A new documentary has revealed Rassie Erasmus’ powerful team talk ahead of the Springboks’ quarter-final clash against Japan in last year’s Rugby World Cup, says the New Zealand Herald. In the inspiring speech, the Springboks coach tells his players what they’re really playing for and to use that as fuel against the hosts.

“When you get the f***ing chance, physically bully these guys today,” Erasmus says in an uncut pre-match team talk from the Springboks’ World Cup documentary Chasing The Sun.

“They can’t turn it on and say ‘here we are’. They are tough little guys who have things that they call inside them. They have this mental thing where they prepare. They’ve got mental coaches and s***.”You play for different things. You play for your mum and things like that. You come from a tough background. And we’re going to need that s*** today.

“These guys do it because they want to grow the game of rugby. We want to do it because we want to save our f***ing country … We’ve got f***ing 40 murders a day. All the women get raped every day.

“These guys are playing rugby to get it on the map. That’s their motivation. They’ve got a 120 million people, they’re one of the richest countries in the world, that’s their motivation. It’s pissing me off that they think that gives them the right.”

At one point, Erasmus turns to individual players and tells them to intimidate the Japanese right from the outset.

“Don’t smile at them. Please don’t smile at them. Siya [Kolisi], when you get the toss, let them get the idea ‘I’m here to f*** you up’.

“From the first kickoff, from the first scrum, look them in the eye ball and let him understand all the s*** that they wrote in the newspaper.

“If you’ve got respect for me, because I’ve got a lot of respect for you guys, if you guys walk out of here and think that this is a joke, then you’re joking with the country and you’re joking with South Africa.

“I want you to take this up seriously and I want you to f*** them up physically for 15 to 20 minutes. And if they give in, fantastic, and if they don’t give in, then we just tactically with the plan f*** them up.

“These guys are playing for something much smaller than we play. They’re playing to put rugby on the map. We’re playing to put a country together.”

The Springboks ended up defeating Japan in a dominant 26-3 win and would go on to claim the World Cup title.

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