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SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus’s role at the pitchside has been under intense scrutiny. Picture: EJ LANGNER/GALLO IMAGES
SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus’s role at the pitchside has been under intense scrutiny. Picture: EJ LANGNER/GALLO IMAGES

Springbok director of rugby Rassie Erasmus will be back on “water boy” duties for the second Rugby Championship match against Argentina at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.

Erasmus was not at the “water boy” post for last weekend’s 32-12 win over Argentina at the same venue, with Duane Vermeulen filling in for him.

Erasmus’s role at the pitchside was under intense scrutiny during the recent British & Irish Lions tour where the Springboks beat the tourists 2-1, with former England coach Sir Clive Woodward one of his main critics.

In the face of criticism, coach Jacques Nienaber and SA Rugby have stood by Erasmus’s role, maintaining that he provides technical and mental insights while performing his duties on the side of the pitch.

“I hope he will be there,” said Nienaber during his squad announcement on Tuesday about Erasmus’s return to his water boy duties.

“Last week we had Duane [Vermeulen] doing it because Rassie had a couple of things to do as he hasn’t been with his family. It was fortunate enough that my family was with me in the bubble but due to logistical stuff Rassie’s family couldn’t make it.”

The Springbok set-up has complicated Covid-19 protocols, and Nienaber said Erasmus met all the requirements of returning to the team’s bio-bubble after spending some time with his family.

“So, he had a bit of a break, which is good to get refreshed. He is back with us and the team. He got through all the protocols that we had to do to get into the bubble and hopefully he will be at his post, and I believe he will.”

After the back-to-back matches against Argentina in Gqeberha, the Springboks travel to Australasia for tough clashes against Australia on September 12 and 18 and New Zealand on September 25 and October 2.

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