JOHANNESBURG – Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has expressed his disappointment in how some people have reacted to the Makazole Mapimpi “exclusion” video following the Boks’ comfortable Rugby World Cup Pool B match against Italy last Friday.
A video that did the rounds on social media at the weekend showed Mapimpi being “shown away” by Frans Steyn from joining the team’s replacements in celebrating the victory. Mapimpi clarified the “incident” later on and on Sunday Erasmus also commented on the matter.
“It does bother me … that some people saw a negative in that,” said Erasmus in response to a question about the matter on Sunday.
He explained that on any tour, groups form between certain players in the tour squad, divided into the match-day starters, the replacements and those who don’t make the match-day squad at all.
“In a squad of 31, those who don’t make the match-day team are the dirt-trackers, who help prepare the team, then there are the starters, the first 15, and then there are the reserves who call themselves different names. On this tour they have called themselves the ‘bomb squad’ … they come on in a game and fix things or there can be a false alarm, when they don’t need to go onto the park.
“This last week there was a standing joke in team around Lood de Jager, who was out of the ‘bomb squad’ because he was in the starting team. (At the end of the match when the replacements were celebrating) Lood didn’t qualify to join the ‘bomb squad’.
“On this occasion Lood was on his way to join them, but Frans said ‘no, you’re not part of us anymore’. He’d been teased about it all week. It was a joke.; Mapimpi was on his way there, he saw the ‘bomb squad’ and turned around.
“It’s sad someone saw something negative in that. I as the head coach would never allow anything like that in the team. For those wanting to find something negative, they will find it; the other 95% of the people in South Africa who want to know the truth … that is the truth. I guarantee you this team is so closely knit.”
The Boks next play Canada in their final Pool B game on Tuesday.
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