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Springboks latest on Rassie and their lack of award nominations

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by PA)

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Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber has claimed there has been no decision yet on what role director of rugby Rassie Erasmus will have at this Saturday’s Autumn Nations Series match versus England. He also gave his verdict on the lack of South African nominations in this week’s shortlists for a variety of World Rugby player of the year awards.   

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Having stayed at home in South Africa for the four-game leg of the Rugby Championship played by the Springboks in Australia, Erasmus travelled to the UK for the team’s three-game end of year tour and has so far he has adopted different matchday vantage points. 

For the November 6 win over Wales in Cardiff, Erasmus was in the stands in the Springboks coaches box and was seated just a few seats away from Nienaber.

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However, the director of rugby last weekend resumed his controversial role from the British and Irish Lions tour in July and August, donning a water bid and running liquid refreshment and instructions onto the Murrayfield pitch during the win over Scotland in Edinburgh.  

Where Erasmus will be positioned at Twickenham was something Nienaber didn’t divulge, though, at Tuesday’s team announcement media briefing. “We haven’t discussed that yet. We will probably make a decision late on Wednesday, Thursday,” he suggested. 

Switching to the lack of recognition for the Springboks players in a season where they have won eight of their twelve matches, Nienaber played down the controversy over not one South African getting selected for either the World Rugby men’s 15s player of the year or the World Rugby breakthrough player of the year shortlists.

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“In terms of the nominations we trust and respect the process to get to the nomination and if you look at all the nominations, I’m talking players, coaches, women’s rugby, if you look at the quality around all sections it is tremendous and we are very happy for the guys that were nominated. Some of our players in the past have been nominated and it is very special for them and we wish all the nominees the best of luck with the whole process,” he said diplomatically. 

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