Rassie zones in on European-based Boks

Cape Town - Rassie Erasmus is reportedly eager to involve Springbok players based in Europe in his 2019 Rugby World Cup plans.

With Allister Coetzee no longer in charge of the Springboks, Erasmus, who is SA Rugby’s director of rugby, looks likely to take charge of the national team until at least the World Cup in Japan.

According to a report on Netwerk24, Erasmus has entered into discussions with a number of overseas-based players who he reckons could play a part at the showpiece in Japan next year.

The report states that Erasmus has identified prop Vincent Koch as a key player for the Springboks.

Koch is contracted to English club Saracens until June 2019, but Erasmus is hoping to negotiate an early release in order for the 27-year-old to return to South Africa. The Bulls and Western Province are reportedly interested in signing him.

The Afrikaans publication also revealed that Erasmus was planning on visiting Willie le Roux, Juan de Jongh (both Wasps), Faf de Klerk (Sale), Frans Steyn, Bismarck du Plessis, Jan Serfontein (all Montpellier), Duane Vermeulen, JP Pietersen (both Toulon) and Pat Lambie (Racing 92) to talk about their future with the national team and to outline his requirements in terms of fitness and form.

Erasmus’ first task as Bok mentor is a three-Test series against England in June.

The first Test is scheduled for Ellis Park in Johannesburg on June 9, followed by Tests at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein (June 16) and Newlands in Cape Town (June 23).