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Habana on shock 'SA C side' loss and Erasmus again running water

By Liam Heagney

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Ex-Springboks winger Bryan Habana has quipped that it was a South Africa C team – not an A team selection – that was beaten on Saturday by the Bulls in Cape Town, adding that he noticed how the director of rugby Rassie Erasmus intriguingly made sure he carried a bottle of water every time he went on the pitch on this occasion unlike on Wednesday when he was criticised for his antics by Lions boss Warren Gatland.

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Playing their second match in three days, South Africa A suffered a 17-14 loss to Jake White’s Bulls in a hastily arranged match ahead of next Saturday’s first Test between the Springboks and the Lions. Appearing as part of Sky Sports’ Stormers versus Lions matchday team in Cape Town, Habana said: “I’m okay (after the loss).

“I would probably term it the SA C side given all the disruptions – but they did lose. A few things to ponder, a few guys potentially played themselves out of Test spot, unfortunately.”

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Habana also made reference to how Erasmus was back operating as a water boy for the South Africa A game with the Bulls, a role Springboks director Erasmus was criticised for by Gatland following Wednesday’s match against the Lions. “It’s a little bit interesting,” said Gatland on Wednesday. “You won’t see me doing that. Different strokes for different folks, I suppose. A little bit strange that the director of rugby of South Africa also being a water boy.”

Gatland had added on Thursday: “Last night he is a water boy and running on the pitch. I think if you are the water boy carrier running onto the pitch you have got to make sure you are carrying water. I didn’t understand what his role was. You don’t run onto the pitch giving messages and stuff if you are the water boy without carrying the water. My advice is to make sure he is carrying water the next time he does that.”

Following Gatland’s barb, Habana made a point of watching Erasmus and what the Springboks boss got up to on Saturday during the shock loss to the Bulls. “He is the most overqualified (water boy). Just to let everyone at ease, I watched the South Africa A game against the Bulls and Rassie actually carried a bottle of water each and every time he went onto the field today. On Wednesday it was maybe a little different, we did see him in that yellow vest with the H2O on his back and he didn’t always have water in his hands, but he is bringing on really good messages I hope.”

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Habana also made reference to Erasmus taking to Twitter on Friday to highlight a pair of contentious Owen Farrell tackles in the wake of Gatland’s suggestion that Faf de Klerk should have been red-carded on Wednesday and not yellow-carded for his high collision with Josh Navidi.

“It’s definitely not the first time we have seen this from Rassie Erasmus,” reasoned Habana. “We all remember three years ago with the whole Owen Farrell incident against Andre Esterhuizen at Twickenham. Rassie got into the media that week showing how they actually need to start tackling, he put that tweet out and got really apprehended by World Rugby in terms of how he conducts himself. It’s not unusual. Rassie is very street smart like that. Given the fact that Jacques Nienaber has been in isolation, he is potentially taking a lot of the drama off what has actually happened in the camp and highlighting other things. It’s not unbeknown for Rassie to do something like that.”

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Habana on shock 'SA C side' loss and Erasmus again running water

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