Jacques Nienaber shrugged off criticism directed at the Springbok coaches after Rassie Erasmus hauled out one of his old plays in their opening World Cup victory against Scotland.
During a tightly contested first half in Marseille on Sunday, Erasmus and assistant coach Felix Jones caught the attention of the cameras by communicating from the coaches box using coloured lights.
Following the match, which the Springboks won 18-5, head coach Nienaber explained that the system was used to communicate efficiently with the support staff on the sidelines.
“In terms of the lights, it started when we played France in Marseille. I don’t know if you’ve been pitch-side or close, with this dome the sound is phenomenal so you can’t hear people,” said Nienaber.
“Sometimes it’s difficult for us to talk to our support staff. I am sure a lot of teams will have systems, whether it is green or red, what is the extent of the injury, so they can communicate.”
Nienaber was then asked whether the Springboks had received permission from World Rugby to use the LED lights.
“You can use hand signals for communication. I don’t think you need any permission from World Rugby,” he answered.
“I was at Munster and the calls were red if it’s a serious injury and you must consider a substitution, amber is ‘let’s give this guy five or 10 minutes to see if he’s okay’ and green ‘it’s okay’.”
Erasmus famously used similar tactics during his days as head coach of the Free State Cheetahs over a decade ago.
In the 2006 Currie Cup, Erasmus stirred controversy by initially using coloured cards and then switching to colour-coded lamps on top of the Free State Stadium to communicate with his players.
Erasmus was also spotted using cones to send signals to the Springboks during the warm-up match against Wales in Cardiff.