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Rassie Erasmus, the Bok coaching guru who divides opinion: 'I'm a quiet, uncomplicated person'

South African director of rugby Rassie Erasmus describes himself in his biography as "a quiet, uncomplicated person" and he is far from the extrovert many perceive him to be.

The 50-year-old is certainly someone who divides opinion, his supporters as forthright in their defence of him as those in the opposing camp are in venting their spleen.

The critics will be especially watchful this week.

They will assess with a fine tooth comb how he talks about referee Ben O'Keeffe in both the lead-up and after Saturday's Rugby World Cup pool game between defending champions South Africa and Ireland, the world's number one ranked team.

Visit News24's Rugby World Cup 2023 zone for fixtures, pools, profiles, top stories

His rants against referees, allied with sarcastic remarks in tweets about them, have landed him in trouble. World Rugby banned him for 12 months after he savaged referee Nic Berry in the first Test with the British & Irish Lions in 2021.

However, Erasmus' defenders would point out his brilliance in turning around a shambolic Springboks side when he and faithful assistant Jacques Nienaber took over in early 2018.

Within two years, the man Erasmus picked as the Springboks' first black captain, Siya Kolisi, was lifting the World Cup trophy.

Erasmus and Nienaber - who moved up to become head coach after the 2019 World Cup - appear polar opposites, the latter like the straight man in a comedy double act, the former the charismatic wise-cracking scene stealer.

Erasmus insists in his biography Rassie: Stories of Life and Rugby, co-authored with journalist David O'Sullivan, the real him is far removed from the one that attracts the ire of his many detractors.

"I may come across as a loudmouth, opinionated, arrogant, unrepentant ...