Jacques Nienaber has confirmed that SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus will stay in South Africa for at least the initial stages of the Rugby Championship fixtures in Australia as he awaits his fate at a World Rugby misconduct hearing.
World Rugby’s hearing of director of rugby Erasmus and SA Rugby began this week, after they were formally charged following his producing a video in which he criticised match officials during the series against the British & Irish Lions.
During the video, Erasmus highlighted a host of officiating discrepancies in the first Test of the series, which was handled by Australian Nic Berry.
England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Australia have reportedly applied pressure on World Rugby to make an example of Erasmus with a lengthy suspension from the game.
If found guilty, Erasmus’ punishments could range from a fine to even having the Springboks stripped of their series victory over the Lions.
Erasmus served as the Springboks’ ‘water-carrier’ in the Lions series, carrying messages to the team, but after missing the first Test against Argentina in order to spend time with his family, he was back in the coaching box for their latest win over Los Pumas in Gqeberha.
However, it was clear then that his role was far less hands on and vocal.
The toll of the fallout from the video has now come into the spotlight as Nienaber stated that Erasmus would remain in South Africa in order to allow the team to focus on the competition at hand.
The Springboks departed for Queensland for their remaining Rugby Championship fixtures on Thursday, and Erasmus might only join the team for the latter stages.
“Rassie has decided to remain in South Africa for now to allow the focus around the team to remain on the Rugby Championship and the team itself so that they can perform to the best of their ability on the field,” said Nienaber.
“He will continue to play active role in our team and coaches meetings throughout the tour and, schedule permitting, he may join us later on.”
The Springboks are currently at the top of the Rugby Championship standings after earning nine points in their first two matches, with the All Blacks in second place on five points after defeating Australia with a bonus point. Australia and Argentina have yet to get off the mark after failing to secure log points in their matches.
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