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The water-carrier with a World Cup winner's medal is back

By Paul Smith

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Local sources report that South Africa’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus will resume duties as a ‘water carrier’ in this Saturday’s second Rugby Championship test against Argentina.


Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber told SA Rugby Mag’s Craig Lewis that his boss will be seen on the touchline in Port Elizabeth’s Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium after missing last week’s win over the Pumas.

SA Rugby and Erasmus are facing a World Rugby misconduct hearing related to his 62-minute video critique of referee Nic Berry’s performance in last month’s first test against the British & Irish Lions.

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Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber analyses last week’s win over Argentina
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Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber analyses last week’s win over Argentina

Eagle-eyed TV onlookers noticed that Erasmus did not fulfil his usual role as a ‘water carrier’ last weekend as was the case throughout the Lions series.

But Nienaber has today ended speculation that his absence was linked to the impending hearing, instead advising that Erasmus had taken some time with his family after an extended period away from home prior to and during the Lions series.

“Last week Rassie had a couple of things to do because he hasn’t been with his family,” he said.

“I was fortunate enough to have my family with me there in the bubble, but with Rassie, due to logistical reasons, his family couldn’t make it.


“So he had a little bit of a break, which is good to get refreshed. But he is back with us in the team, he came through all the correct protocols we have to do to get into the bubble, so he will be back on his post now.”

Nienaber went on to highlight how useful he finds the insight Erasmus brings from his fieldside position.

“I’d love to take credit for substitutions, but it’s a team effort,” he said.

“It would be naive of me not to use Rassie, for example. I’ve been on the side of the field before when Rassie was in the box, and so when it comes to substitutions, we take everything into account.


“We discuss what Rassie has seen, what the medical team has assessed, how the players are feeling and if they’re getting into the battles we want them to.”


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