The Springboks have refused to make any further comment on the misconduct charge levelled against director of rugby Rassie Erasmus.
At the press conference to announce the team for the deciding Test against the Lions, it was made clear they would not be adding anything to the statement issued by South African Rugby.
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After the opener in Cape Town, which the Lions won 22-17, Erasmus recorded an hour-long video during which he highlighted a number of decisions he was unhappy with.
He also accused referee Nic Berry of treating Springboks skipper Siya Kolisi differently to opposing captain Alun Wyn Jones, even claiming he laughed in response to one point raised by Kolisi and ignored him.
After the lodging of the misconduct charge, SA Rugby issued a statement, saying they had noted the charges brought by World Rugby and would respond through the designated channels
They added they would make no further comment until the process is complete.
And they proved good to their word at Tuesday’s media session, which was attended by head coach Jacques Nienaber and scrum-half Cobus Reinach.
Before inviting questions from the journalists on the conference call, the ‘Boks media manager laid out the parameters.
“We have issued a statement relating to the charge of misconduct to Mr Erasmus, as well as SA Rugby,” he said.
“During this press conference, we will refrain from adding anything on to that statement.
“So if we can stick to the matter in hand, which is the team announcement, I will greatly appreciate that.”
As a result, the focus was firmly on the alterations to the ‘Boks team for the series decider against the Lions.
There are two injury-enforced changes of personnel, plus one positional switch, and the return for a veteran on the bench.
Main man Faf de Klerk (leg muscle strain) is replaced at scrum-half by Cobus Reinach, who leapfrogs sub Herschel Jantjies, having not been involved in the series up to now.
Another key figure, flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit, is ruled out by shoulder damage, so the versatile Franco Mostert moves into the back row, with Lood de Jager starting at lock following his huge display as a sub last week.
Then, among the replacements, there’s a call-up for the 37-year-old Morné Steyn, who figured prominently in the last Lions tour of South Africa in 2009, as the ‘Boks revert to a 5-3 split.
De Klerk is set to be sidelined for three to five weeks with his soft tissue injury, while Du Toit will see a specialist later this week.
Giving his thoughts after announcing the team, head coach Nienaber said: “This group of players are among a handful of players in the history of South African rugby that have an opportunity to clinch a series against the Lions after winning the Rugby World Cup, and every player in this squad understands what a rare honour that is.
“I don’t think one needs any more motivation than that to win this weekend. We are preparing for a physical encounter and we know that every small battle will count if we want to win the series.
“This match is as important to us as it is for the Lions, so we know it is going to be tight, and we will have to capitalise on every opportunity we have to score points, and be effective in every area of our game.
“As Springboks, big moments such as these excite us, so we plan to go out there and give everything we have to clinch the series.”
He added: “This is a massive Test for us with the series on the line, so it was important for us to maintain consistency in selection following on last week’s performance.
“Pieter-Steph du Toit was ruled out, but we are fortunate to have experienced players such as Franco and Lood who can step in and who have the physical presence we need in those roles.
“Cobus is also an experienced player with a calm head and who can handle pressure and we believe he will be able to dictate play well alongside Handre Pollard.
“I am delighted for Morne - he is a world-class player and his work ethic and positive attitude on and off the field since joining the team in Bloemfontein have been impressive.
“He can also perform under extreme pressure, as he’s shown for the Springboks and the Bulls and that skill will be invaluable in such a vital Test.”
Frenchman Mathieu Raynal will referee the match, with Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand) and Nic Berry (Australia) serving as assistants and South Africa’s Marius Jonker again the TMO.