l’essentielDuring the match against Scotland, the Boks staff caught attention by communicating with the players using light signals.
These South Africans are quite inventive. While at the Vélodrome, we are more accustomed to seeing green lasers hitting the faces of opposing players during set pieces, the Springboks staff in the stands also used lights to interact with the field. Not lasers, but three round spots of different colors. « We started using this system against France, right here (in Marseille, in November 2022), » reveals Jacques Nienaber, the South African coach. « I don’t know if you’ve ever been on the sidelines during a match, but with this kind of dome, the noise is enormous. So it’s hard to hear each other. »
A message transmission method that apparently does not require « permission from World Rugby » and, according to Nienaber, does not involve tactical aspects. « We were already using this at Munster (2016-2017, when he was defense coach under Rassie Erasmus, editor’s note). The red indicated a serious injury and an immediate substitution; orange gave us 5 or 10 minutes to decide; green meant everything was okay. It’s a simple way to communicate. So no, this system has nothing to do with tactics, » argued the coach. Perhaps he wanted to play with assistance or hide the true application of this process. Because the lights were raised several times during the match, including when the world champions were awarded a penalty and had to decide between taking a lineout or going for points.
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Cette technique rappelle en tous les cas celle employée par le passé par Rassie Erasmus, l’actuel directeur du rugby sud-africain. Alors qu’il entraînait les Cheetahs (2006-2007), l’ex-sélectionneur des Boks (2018-2019), brandissait des planches de diverses couleurs et usait de lumières de disco sur le toit du stade de Bloemfontein pour communiquer avec son équipe. Lui valant le surnom de « DJ Rassie ».