Stormers left in the dark over Rassie's request
SPOTLIGHT: Stormers head coach John Dobson said his team was not involved in any discussions regarding Rassie Erasmus’ request to replace them with South Africa ‘A’ in a match against the British and Irish Lions on Saturday.
Director of Rugby Erasmus was keen is keen to squeeze in another game for the underdone Springboks and requested a second SA ‘A’ match against the tourists after this past Wednesday’s midweek encounter.
But B&I Lions head coach Warren Gatland immediately poured cold water on the idea earlier in the week, when he was asked for a response.
The Springboks are now set to face the Bulls in Cape Town in what will be a final ‘practice run’ ahead of the Test series
However, after South Africa ‘A’ beat the B&I Lions 17-13 on Wednesday, Erasmus told a media briefing that he is keeping open the option of playing the B&I Lions again – depending on the impact of COVID-19.
When asked if there was any communication from the Bok camp on what was going on, Dobson said: “No there wasn’t. We got in here [team bubble] last Friday and have been preparing and I never got any formal communication other than what we read in the media.
“After the game last [Wednesday] night it sounds like it [possible second match between SA ‘A’ and B&I Lions] is still alive, but we haven’t heard anything.”
The Stormers appreciate Gatland’s stance on the matter.
“For our players, we are thrilled the game is going ahead, but we obviously would have acted in the interests of South African rugby,” Dobson told media during an online media conference on Thursday.
“It’s a tricky position to be in. You want the guys to experience what will be a great occasion for us and at the same time, you want to help the national cause.
“I completely understand Warren’s position. I think playing the provincial teams keeps some sort of integrity of what is a tour.
“We would have gone with whatever we were told to do, but we are really keen to play and we are appreciative.
“Maybe Warren feels a week out from the Test match is a nice chance for him to get through some patterns and hopefully we will do our best to disrupt that.”