Erasmus to tour with Springboks as misconduct hearing looms

Johannesburg (AFP) – Controversial South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus plans to tour Britain with the world champion Springboks next month, head coach Jacques Nienaber confirmed on Wednesday.


"Rassie is coming with us on tour. He will fulfil his normal role as he has done previously," said Nienaber ahead of Tests in Wales, Scotland and England between November 6 and 20.

While Nienaber did not elaborate on what "normal role" meant, Erasmus was a "water boy" during the British and Irish Lions series victory this year, regularly entering the field to pass messages or give instructions.

Before the first match in Cardiff, Erasmus faces a World Rugby misconduct hearing having criticised Australian referee Nic Berry in a 62-minute video during the Lions visit.

If found guilty after the October 30-31 hearing, the South African could be fined, or suspended and prevented from travelling with the 2019 Rugby World Cup winners.

Erasmus did not accompany South Africa to the Rugby Championship in Australia last month as he feared his presence could trigger a media backlash that would distract the team.

Rugby Australia had called the stinging criticism of Berry "unacceptable and against the spirit and values of the game".

Some South African supporters laid the blame for three losses and only one victory against Australia and New Zealand on the absence of Erasmus.

Named director of rugby in 2018, former Springboks flanker Erasmus also became head coach and transformed South Africa within two seasons from a national embarrassment into world champions.

He stepped down as coach after the 32-12 World Cup final triumph over England in Japan and defence coach Nienaber took over.

Home-based Springboks in the 32-man squad will depart on Friday for a week-long camp in France and be joined by those based overseas before flying to Wales on October 31.