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Why Rassie Erasmus will no longer be the Springboks' water boy

By Paul Smith
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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South Africa have confirmed that unless he is banned following next weekend’s World Rugby disciplinary hearing Rassie Erasmus will return to the coaching box for the Autumn International Series.


The World Cup winning director of rugby created a stir by donning a hi-viz jacket to act as a water boy during the Springboks’ summer series against the British & Irish Lions. This located him within the playing enclosure close to the action from where he could easily deliver messages to his team.

Although he subsequently sat out South Africa’s Rugby Championship trip to the Australian Gold Coast, opting instead to remain at home, Erasmus is a confirmed traveller for the Springboks’ November games against Wales, Scotland and England.

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Speaking from an online media briefing from Paris, where the team is staging a one-week training camp, head coach Jacques Nienaber confirmed that a reduction in the permitted number of water carriers from three to two has caused a rethink in Erasmus’ in-match role.

“Rassie is here in his capacity as Director of Rugby,” Nienaber said.

“The normal trend was always only two water carriers in the technical box, but for the British & Irish Lions series World Rugby made a special dispensation to have three available and that was a role that we thought we are going to fill internally.

“That gave Rassie the opportunity to be the water carrier, but we are now back to two water carriers in the technical zone, so there is no space for him.”


“We normally had certain individuals that would fulfil that role of water carrier and they will continue. He (Erasmus) will fulfil his normal role as Director of Rugby and he will be in the box with us at the top.”

South Africa face Wales in Cardiff on November 6 before moving to Edinburgh to face Scotland on November 13.
Their tour ends with a match against England at Twickenham on November 20.




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