Bok coach: Rassie handled off-field stuff, we focused on rugby

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber says the team never lost sight of their on-field focus prior to the second Test against the British & Irish Lions despite a controversial buildup.

The entire week leading up to the second Test at Cape Town Stadium undoubtedly must go down as one of the most controversial Test weeks which has been filled with extraordinary talking points.

Led by Rassie Erasmus, a public approach was taken in highlighting certain dissatisfaction with officiating inconsistencies and World Rugby’s laboured referee review process, culminating with an unprecedented hour-long Erasmus video.

However, Nienaber explained afterwards how they had effectively compartmentalised one with apart from another.

“Obviously, Rassie, as director of rugby, had something on his heart,” Nienaber said after the match.

“It’s something that we discussed and we agreed that [his video], to put it like that, was off-field stuff. We, as a team, knew that we needed to focus on rugby…

“Hats off to the players. We had a proper review earlier this week. It was actually a really tough week in terms of analysis. We were really hard on each other,” added Nienaber.

“Our reviews are focused on everyone, not just the players but us coaches too. We get things wrong too and sometimes we get it right. We put our hands up and all admitted when we did things wrong.

“We really just focused on the rugby and the things we can control. That’s what we did. The off-field stuff was handled by Rassie.”

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Craig Lewis