South Africa's director of rugby has been water carrier for a few games now

Why was Rassie Erasmus waterboy for South Africa A?

He could well be the most overqualified water carrier in the history of rugby – while a lot of the buzz during South Africa A versus the British & Irish Lions may have been on the moment Cheslin Kolbe cuts Lions open with incredible footwork, South Africa’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus was running water (and undoubtedly tactical messages) onto the park.

South Africa A defeated the Lions 17-13 in Cape Town and after the match, Lions head coach Warren Gatland was asked about the Rugby World Cup-winning coach donning the hi-vis vest. At the time the Kiwi quipped: “It was a little bit interesting! You won’t see me doing that. Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.

“A little bit strange, the director of South African rugby also being a waterboy.”

However, a day later, Gatland made comments that may well be intended to bring the South African’s actions under a little more scrutiny, saying: “If you’re the waterboy, you’re supposed to run onto the pitch with water.

“My advice to him would be to bring water next time.”

It was something that Jacques Nienaber did at the 2019 World Cup. Nienaber is now head coach of the Springboks, but at the time he served as an assistant to Erasmus, as well as an on-field physio for the team.

After the Georgia match, Nienaber said of Erasmus’s new role: “It was nice for me in terms of being able to chat with Rassie and him giving me feedback from the players and running water on the side.

“Hats off to him for wanting to do that.

“Myself and Rassie always work a little bit out of the box.

“Obviously I can’t be on the side of the field … So hopefully he makes himself available for the next game as well!”

What Nienaber could not know at the time was that he would be isolating due to a Covid-19 infection by the time the South Africa A match came around, meaning Erasmus would not only be waterboy but also coaching the side as well.

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