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Nienaber's 10-word answer when quizzed post-game on Erasmus

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Rassie Erasmus was banned from attending Saturday’s match at Twickenham but the Springboks director of rugby still cast a shadow on proceedings, be it at the post-game media briefing, the cancelled half-time Wayne Barnes event, or tweeting earlier in the day about his supposedly positive dialogue with World Rugby.

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First things first. Jacques Nienaber thought he was all done when a final question in the English part of the head coach’s after-match conference just had to be about you know who. “Did Rassie have any input during the 80 minutes, was there any communication?”

A ten-word answer was all Nienaber would give before proceedings moved onto Afrikaans. “No, we’re not allowed to talk to him here, unfortunately,” he said about his boss, who would have likely watched the match back at South Africa’s Lensbury hotel base less the three miles away by road.

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That was the final mention of Erasmus on a busy headline-making day for the supposedly exiled DoR that began with SA Rugby releasing a media statement reporting on his Thursday meeting with World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin and Phil Davies, the director of rugby.

They are due to convene again soon judging by the messages Erasmus then posted to Twitter, his first comments on the social media site since a tweet the previous week appealing to South African fans shortly before he was busted with his two-day match day ban.

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“Thank you WR and let’s move on,” he wrote, except the legacy of his sarcastic tweeting about referees had an unfortunate sequel at Twickenham later that afternoon. The match programme had stated that the RFU were set to honour Barnes for becoming a centurion Test referee by introducing him to the crowd at half-time.

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That plan, though, was binned for fear there could be a negative reaction from Springboks supporters given that Barnes, who was going to be at Twickenham with his family, had been in charge for South Africa’s loss in Marseille to France which set Erasmus off on Twitter.

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