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Rassie Erasmus' Autumn Nations Series hangs in balance this weekend

By Chris Jones
Springboks director of rugby Rassie Erasmus.

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South Africa’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus will this weekend be the subject of a World Rugby misconduct hearing having criticised referee Nic Berry’s performance in an online video after July’s first Test defeat to the British and Irish Lions

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Subject to any verdict from the hearing, Erasmus will be alongside head coach Jacques Nienaber and the rest of the management for the Autumn Nations Cup matches and that will be crucial for the Springboks according to Handre Pollard, their goal kicking outside half.

Pollard helped Montpellier defeat Racing 92 in front of his fellow Springbok squad members who were watching in the stands as they prepare for the European players to join up after this weekend’s domestic fixtures. Erasmus will not be reprising his waterboy role following a change in World Rugby rules and if he avoids any action for his comments,

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Pollard said: “Rassie hasn’t been as hands on, with the World Rugby court case and all that referee stuff. But it’s going to be great to have him back, we really missed him. He’s got a funny way of getting the best out of us.”

With regular scrumhalf Faf de Klerk recovering after hip surgery Montpellier’s Cobus Reinach, who scored an amazing solo try against Racing, faces a battle for the Springbok No.9 jersey with Stormers’ Herschel Jantjies and Sharks’ Grant Williams.

Reinach, Pollard told AFP, had “played an unbelievable game, showing all the X-factor that he’s got” against Racing. He added: “We know what we’ve got in Herschel, we know what we’ve got with Cobus, and with Grant the new guy coming through. Luckily it’s not my decision to make, I’ll leave that up to the coach. We’re very blessed to have them playing scrumhalf for us.”

South Africa play Wales on 6 November, Scotland a week later before a replay of the 2019 Rugby World Cup final against England on 20 November. “We haven’t beaten Wales in a very long time in Cardiff, so it’s going to be one of our big objectives,” said Pollard. “Scotland are always a difficult side to play. We want three out of three, that would be perfect. I really can’t wait to get stuck in.”

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