Erasmus will continue as the Springboks vs. Lions water boy
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) – Former Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus will continue to be their water carrier against the British and Irish Lions on Saturday in the first test.
South Africa assistant coach Mzwandile Stick confirmed the decision on Friday, which is sure to upset the Lions.
“It’s his role now on the team,” said Stick. “So he will be there and he will run everywhere to bring water to the players. And we, as Springbok rugby, are happy about that.
Coaches are not allowed in the technical area next to the pitch during a test, but Erasmus, who coached the Springboks to Rugby World Cup glory in 2019, bypasses that as director of rugby for the South Africa since 2017.
He donned a bib and carried water for South Africa A, a ghost team of the Springboks, using the work to convey tactical advice as he beat the Lions 17-13 on July 14. The Boks used the same ploy in the Rugby World Cup but Erasmus was the official coach then, and he got current coach Jacques Nienaber, who is qualified as a physiotherapist, to be the boy of the water and the messenger.
Lions coach Warren Gatland noted that Erasmus is not breaking the rules, but that is also not in the spirit of the game.
He joked about Erasmus after the loss to South Africa A: “The point is, if you’re the water boy running on the pitch, you have to make sure you carry the water. So I didn’t quite understand what his role was. You don’t run around the field carrying messages without water. My advice is, next time, that he should make sure he is carrying water when he does.
This week, Gatland said he was not too worried if Erasmus continued.
“It’s just that I’m not sure this is the best look for the game, but it’s their decision and I’m going to live with it,” Gatland said. “They don’t legitimately break the laws or the rules of the game in terms of guidelines. I made a bit of a joke about it because I thought it was pretty funny.
Meanwhile, Springboks captain Siya Kolisi has said he will understand if he is replaced if he falters during the test at any time.
Kolisi was only allowed to resume training on Monday after spending 10 days in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19. He missed the A game for South Africa.
“I feel great,” Kolisi said.
“But I also know if it happens to a place where I’m tired and I can’t go, my coaches know me, and the signs when I’m tired, then they’ll take me off the pitch. If it’s the first half or the second half, it doesn’t matter, it’s just the code we’re living by.
“So I have every confidence to go as hard as possible and not hold anything back. “
Kolisi said her symptoms were minor.
“I was lucky because for me there weren’t a lot of symptoms, very close to nothing at all. I was fine the second day. The challenge was just the mental thing of isolating yourself in the room. I was always part of the meetings and I always spoke to the team.
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