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VIDEO: Rassie's 'disco lights' are back ... with good reason

Rassie Erasmus originally used it during his coaching days with the Cheetahs, from 2004 to 2007 – first as colour, flashcards and then the lights system.


On Sunday, at Marseille’s Stade VĂ©lodrome, it was on full display for the world to see – the Rassie disco lights returning in their full glory.

South Africa started the defence of their World Cup crown with a scratchy 18-3 win over a willing Scotland on Sunday – with some Manie Libbok magic and a two-try blitz in the second half turned a narrow 6-3 half-time lead into an important win.

However, the post-much debriefing included a substantial portion of the lights being used in the coaches’ box.

Erasmus used a similar tactic during the warm-up match against Wales before the World Cup, but in Cardiff, he made use of training cones instead of lights.

In Marseille, the coaching team was seen several times sending signals down to the field.

Rassie's disco lights


Coach Jacques Nienaber revealed that the lights actually returned when they played against France on the year-end tour last November.

“If you have been pitch-side, or close [to] pitch-side [in the VĂ©lodrome], with this dome the sound is phenomenal,” Nienaber said.

“You can’t hear people,” the coach added.

“The main thing for us – because there are a lot of channels, working and talking, it is tough to talk to our support staff.


“A lot of teams will have systems – be that a red, or a green or whatever.”

He suggested they use it to find out the extent of knocks and injuries and it was not tactics related.

Rassie's cones

“It is just for us to communicate with the support staff,” he said.

Nienaber dismissed the notion that they required ‘permission’ from World Rugby to use the disco lights.

“Communication, you can use hand signals if you want.

“I don’t think you need any permission from World Rugby.”

He said during their stint at Munster they used ‘red’ if it was a serious injury, if they were to consider a substitution.

“Amber was: ‘Listen, let’s give this guy five or 10 minutes to see if he is okay’.

“And green was: ‘ He is okay, we can go on’.

“It is something we used at Munster, back in 2016 and 2017 and it is something we continued with.

“It is an easy way to communicate. If you talk to your medical staff it consumes the channels, if you want to talk tactics.

“It is an easy way to get them to get information to us.”

He denied it was tactical in any way.

(WATCH as Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber explains the return of the ‘disco lights’ as a means of communication with the players on the field…)

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* The flyhalf, Libbok was named Man of the Match as South Africa opened the defence of their World Cup title defence with an important win.

Libbok’s highlight was a second-half no-look foot-pass to Kurt-Lee Arendse on the right wing, as the Springboks began their search for a record fourth Webb Ellis trophy in clinical fashion in the searing Marseille heat.

Former World Player of the Year Pieter-Steph Du Toit had crashed over earlier in the tie for Jacques Nienaber’s outfit in Pool B.

Their next major test to reach the quarterfinals will be world No.1 side Ireland on September 23, six days after facing Romania.

“I think it could have been a slippery one,” Nienaber said.

“Scotland are a good side, they are not number five in the world for nothing.

“We were only leading 6-3 at half-time after having some dominance.

“They are a nuggety team and hats off to them. We had to grind the win out.”

Nienaber said it wasn’t rocket science how the Boks turned the screw in the second period.

“Rugby is not a complicated sport.

“If you get a good platform from the forwards, then you can create momentum that can create some space and then you have some backs who can make some magic,” he added.



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