Only Rassie Erasmus knows whether he really feared Italy as much as he said he did before the decisive World Cup pool B clash and how much of the pre-match hype was just him being a drama queen for the effect it might have on his Springbok team.

We’ve seen Erasmus play the drama queen game before. In 2018, before the Rugby Championship clash with the All Blacks in Wellington, Erasmus spoke of his job being on the line if the team lost. Erasmus would have known that was nonsense. He’s been signed on as national director of rugby until 2023, and it would have taken a lot for his employers to turn against him in the first season he was in charge.

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