South Africa’s Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, has expressed relief over the news that the Springboks will be able to fly their flag in this weekend’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final clash against host nation, France, in Paris.
Yesterday, Sports Minister Zizi Kodwa said they had lodged an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) decision to ban the team and the Proteas from flying the flag and singing the national anthem due to alleged non-compliance with new WADA rules.
The South African Institute for Drug-free Sport is disputing the claims against South Africa and the proposed consequences.
“Whatever happened we would be representing South Africa,” Erasmus told reporters.
“Even if it went the other way the boys would be totally focused on the match.
“We’re glad that it’s in a way sorted out,” he added.
Erasmus’s World Cup holders are set to face France captain Antoine Dupont in Paris this weekend.
The influential scrum-half has been given the all-clear to return to full training after fracturing his cheekbone three weeks ago.
“I broke my jaw three times and you can get leaner because you can’t eat!” Erasmus joked.
“A lack of fitness won’t be a problem for him. The surgeon cleared him. I have no doubt he will play and will be a big challenge for us to try and contain him,” he added.
France ended their group campaign top of Pool A thanks to a victory over Italy.
During the game the Azzurri had a try overturned after prop Simone Ferrari made a high challenge on France’s Maxime Lucu, to which the scrum-half reacted extravagantly.
“I think what they do well is when they get close to high hits they really show that to the referee,” Erasmus said.
“They do simulate sometimes a little bit which is clever and obviously works.
“I think they’re very clever and obviously works.
“They’re a physical team who man up,” he added.
France lock Thibaud Flament denied his side used simulation as a tactic.
“It’s not something I’ve really noticed,” Flament told reporters.
“I think all teams seem to do it.
“It’s not something we prepare specifically or try and do.
“I don’t think it’s something that characterises our play,” he added.
Erasmus and head coach Jacques Nienaber will name his team on Friday and they have a decision to make regarding how many backs and forwards they name on the bench.
“We’re very fortunate and that’s why we haven’t quite decided whether it’s 7/1 or 6/2, which will go best,” Erasmus said.
Written by: Ntsako Mukhari