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Rassie back in the coaches' box for Boks' three UK Tests

Director of rugby will not be a water carrier on tour

26 October 2021 - 16:14 By LIAM DEL CARME
Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber, left, said SA Rugby's director of rugby Rassie Erasmus, in the foreground, will return to the coaches' box on the team's tour to the United Kingdom.
Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber, left, said SA Rugby's director of rugby Rassie Erasmus, in the foreground, will return to the coaches' box on the team's tour to the United Kingdom.
Image: Johan Rynners/GALLO IMAGES

Rassie Erasmus, SA Rugby's much talked about director of rugby, will not be carrying water bottles on to the field in the Springboks' three Tests in the United Kingdom next month.

Erasmus, who much to the chagrin of opposition coach Warren Gatland started the practice during the series against the British & Irish Lions, did not continue in that role during the Rugby Championship as he did not travel to Australia. It was said he would reprise the role on the Springboks' end of year tour to Wales, Scotland and England especially after Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber indicated last week that Erasmus would resume “his normal role” on tour.

He has since, however, poured cold water over the idea of Erasmus carrying bottles in Cardiff, Edinburgh and London.

Rassie is here in his capacity as director of rugby,” Nienaber said from Paris in an online media briefing. The normal trend was always only two water carriers in the technical box, but for the British and Irish Lions series World Rugby made three available and that was a role that we said we were going to fill internally. That gave Rassie the opportunity to be the water carrier,” explained Nienaber.

Water carrier complement complete

But we are now back to two water carriers in the technical zone, so there is no space for him. We normally had certain individuals that would fulfil that role and they will continue fulfilling that role. He will fulfil his normal role as director of rugby and he will be in the box with us at the top,” Nienaber reiterated.

Erasmus dispensing water and advice got under the skin of the Lions' brains trust. Coaches are not supposed to act as water carriers and the Springbok camp was keen to point out Erasmus is in fact not employed as a coach.

Before the end of year tour kicks off in Cardiff against Wales Saturday week however, Erasmus and SA Rugby have to appear in front of a World Rugby disciplinary hearing.

Erasmus and the local governing body are in the dock over the former's infamous hour-long video posted online in which he criticised match officials after the first Test against the Lions.

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