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'We stuffed up' - Nienaber admits directing waterboy during 'disgraceful' incident

By Ian Cameron
Jacques Nienaber /Getty

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Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber has taken responsibility for the behaviour of their waterboy during their watershed Rugby Championship 31 – 29 win over the All Blacks on the Gold Coast.


It was a dramatic and thrilling Test match for the ages, but there was one sideline incident with the officials which stood out in the Cbus Stadium.

At one point during the contest the Springboks waterboy could be seen following the assistant referee up the sideline after a Springbok kick into touch, talking to him, an incident branded as ‘disgraceful’ by rugby writer Alisdair Hogg, who tweeted a video of the incident.

Referee Matthew Carley took the waterboy aside and warned him that he would send him off if he continued to harang the AR on the touchline. “If I see you chasing our touch judge up the line again, you’ll be off.”

Nienaber has apologised and admitted that the waterboy was in fact acting on the direction of the Springboks’ coaches’ box.

“We thought it was a 50:22. We got it wrong at the top. The ruck was inside New Zealand’s half and it was two passes back and then we kicked the 50:22. It’s a new concept for us. It’s not something that we have played and it’s a rule that changed. We played the British & Irish Lions, the last game was the seventh of August and the next game was Argentina and this law was part of it.


“I’ll put my hand on up and say we got it wrong and we asked him to challenge. We were so sure but then we looked back at the video and saw that we got it completely wrong.’

Nienaber confirmed that he used an audio link with the waterboy to direct him to challenge the AR.

“Like I say, my fault. I thought it was a 50:22. Where we kicked the ball was our half and it went out in their 22, but we passed it back [into our half].


“I think Australia and New Zealand have had two competitions under that law, so they’re a little bit more familiar with it. Not that it’s any excuse. We just wanted him to notify [the AR]. We apologise, we just got it wrong.”

“We saw it live and then re-winded and then… sorry. We stuffed it up.”

The Springboks will play Wales, Scotland and England to end the international season, but they may need to brush up on their laws before travelling north.



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