Springboks: Rassie Erasmus explains 6-2 split decision and sounds World Cup warning ahead of ‘physically gruelling’ Ireland clash

Adam Kyriacou
Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus.

Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus.

Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus is looking for “much of the same” from his 6-2 split on the replacements bench when they face Ireland in the second Test.

Speaking after naming an unchanged matchday 23 from the selection that saw South Africa win 27-20, Erasmus was quizzed on the impact the bench had in Pretoria.

The Boks have been criticised by pundit and ex-Scotland head coach Matt Williams, who feels they are “abusing rugby traditions” with how they use the replacements.

Williams criticism

Williams, who slammed the Springboks after they implemented a 7-1 split in last year’s World Cup final, has this week doubled down on his criticism of South Africa.

“At the 49-minute mark, six South African forwards walked onto the field, is that what the replacement laws for safety were designed for?” he told the Virgin Media Sport podcast.

“And that is not any criticism of South Africa, it’s not a criticism of Rassie, it’s a criticism of World Rugby that allows that to happen. That is not what our game is designed for.

“The South Africans took full advantage of a loophole in the system, and that is where the penalty try came from.”

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Erasmus has on Tuesday discussed how the six-two split played out in last week’s first Test and was pleased with the impact they had against Ireland at Loftus Versfeld.

“We considered a few options for the first Test – a five-three split, six-two split, and seven-one split, and we felt that this combination is the best to counter the challenge Ireland possess,” he said.

“The replacements made a good impact when they took the field by injecting energy into the game, and we are looking for much of the same from them this week.”

The Boks head coach is expecting a backlash from Andy Farrell’s outfit this weekend at Kings Park, with the Irish looking for a victory that would level the series.

“We’ve been on the wrong side of the scoreboard on a few occasions too and we remember how it felt to suffer a defeat against them in the World Cup pool stages, and we have no doubt they are feeling the same this week,” he explained.

“They are a proud team and nation and they’ll be disappointed that they were unable to capitalise on a few opportunities last week close to our try-line, so they will work hard this week to fix their mistakes and ensure that they convert their chances into points.

“This is going to be another physically gruelling match, and just like us, they will be determined to correct the wrongs of last week.

“There is also the other important matter of them of trying to draw the series, while we would be delighted to win both matches, which will fuel their motivation, so it is going to be another spectacle of top-class rugby.”

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