Cape Town – Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick says SA director of rugby Rassie Erasmus’ absence when they face England at Twickenham on Saturday will “motivate the team to play even better.”
On Wednesday, World Rugby gave their verdict on Erasmus’ hour-long video, in which he pointed out what he felt Australian referee Nic Berry got wrong in their first Test against the British & Irish Lions in July. Erasmus was found guilty of misconduct.
🇿🇦 The Springbok team for tomorrow's Test against England at Twickenham, the last of the season. For all the news from the week, click here: https://t.co/EKwRyTQUzf #StrongerTogether #StrongerForever #ENGvRSA #CastleOutgoingTour pic.twitter.com/MoeFYad55H— Springboks (@Springboks) November 19, 2021
As a result, Erasmus has been suspended with immediate effect from all rugby activities for two months and suspended from all match-day activities (including coaching, contact with match officials, and media engagement) with immediate effect until 30 September 2022. The World Cup-winning coach has also been handed a warning as to his future conduct and ordered to make a public apology to the relevant match officials.
During the Captain’s press conference on Friday, Stick was asked what it would be like not having Erasmus pitchside when they face England or involved in any other capacity.
“Rassie is a very special guy to the team. We know how much he cares for us, we know how much he cares for the team,” Stick responded. “We are going to miss him, but one thing I can guarantee is that his spirit will always be there, for sure.
“For us, this will be motivation to play even better. We know what the teams means to him, so that will only motivate us. He is a very special guy.”
With the Test a repeat of the 2019 World Cup final, the fixture certainly doesn’t lack any hype, and the week’s developments will of course only add to that.
But apart from everything that’s been going on, Stick said that playing England is always a big challenge and added that they continue to draw motivation from the people back in South Africa.
“They are a very good team, they are a strong side. They have very good players and it's going to be tough playing against them. I know for sure they have got pride in what they do and in that jersey. We need to focus on what we can do, and hopefully we can keep on making the South African people proud."
The match kicks off at 17:15 (SA time).
England: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Joe Marchant, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Jonny May, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Tom Curry, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie Blamire, 1 Bevan Rodd.
Replacements: 16 Nic Dolly, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Sam Simmonds, 21 Alex Dombrandt, 22 Raffi Quirke, 23 Max Malins.
Springboks: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Jesse Kriel, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn.