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Springboks shock: Erasmus hasn't flown out with them to Australia

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Jacques Nienaber’s Springboks are flying out to Queensland by charter flight from South Africa without SA director of rugby Rassie Erasmus on board. Erasmus, the guiding light in their 2019 World Cup triumph in Japan, fell foul of World Rugby for his antics during the recent Test series victory over the Lions in Cape Town.   


His trenchant criticism of the match officials following the defeat for the Springboks in the opening Test on July 24 resulted in a misconduct charge being issued against him by World Rugby on August 2 and Erasmus, who ran water on the pitch for Nienaber’s team during the series, is now preparing for a hearing at a yet to be confirmed date.  

“Rassie has decided to remain in South Africa, for now, to allow the focus around the team to remain on the Rugby Championship and the team itself so that they can perform to the best of their ability on the field,” explained Nienaber about the absence of Erasmus from the Springboks’ flight to Australia. “He will continue to play an active role in our team and coaches meetings throughout the tour and, schedule permitting, he may join us later on.”

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What sacrifice means to the Black Ferns

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What sacrifice means to the Black Ferns

Fresh from back-to-back wins over Argentina in Port Elizabeth, the Springboks flew from there to Cape Town before embarking on a charter flight to Australia where they will play their remaining four Rugby Championship fixtures, starting with the September 12 clash versus Australia on the Gold Coast. They face Wallabies a second time the following weekend before the trip is rounded off by the eagerly awaited two fixtures versus the All Blacks, age-old rivals they haven’t played since a pool fixture at the 2019 World Cup.  

“The players had a few days off to rest mentally and recover physically from the demanding start to the season, so we are excited to make this trip to Australia and to get back onto the park for the next leg of the competition,” said Nienaber before flying out.

“When we arrive in Australia we will be in quarantine for two weeks, although we will be allowed to train at specific times of the day, and then we enter a challenging block of four back-to-back Tests against Australia and New Zealand. It is important that we get back into our Test-week routine as quickly as possible. We have two weeks to adapt to the time zone and conditions due to our mandatory quarantine period and combined with proper on-field preparations, it will bode well for the team before the first match.

“This extra time will also be valuable for the players nursing niggles to recover fully. All of the players should be available for selection for the first Test against Australia, so the coaches will be in a good position in terms of squad selection when we begin our preparations for those matches.”


Props: Thomas du Toit, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Wilco Louw, Frans Malherbe, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane;
Hookers: Joseph Dweba, Johan Grobbelaar, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi;
Locks: Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Franco Mostert, Marvin Orie;
Loose forwards: Siya Kolisi, Kwagga Smith, Marco van Staden, Duane Vermeulen, Jasper Wiese, Dan du Preez;
Utility forwards: Rynhardt Elstadt, Jean-Luc du Preez;
Scrum-halves: Faf de Klerk, Herschel Jantjies, Cobus Reinach, Grant Williams;
Fly-halves: Elton Jantjies, Handre Pollard, Morne Steyn;
Midfielders: Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Jesse Kriel;
Outside Backs: Aphelele Fassi, Cheslin Kolbe, Willie le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi, Sbu Nkosi, Rosko Specman;
Utility backs: Damian Willemse, Frans Steyn.


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