Cape Town - Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has explained his decision to substitute hooker Bongi Mbonambi early in Saturday’s Rugby Championship loss to the Wallabies in Brisbane.
Malcolm Marx replaced Mbonambi after 35 minutes, shortly after the latter had made an error with an overthrown lineout throw which gifted a try to Australian centre Matt Toomua.
The Springboks were leading 15-7 before Toomua’s try which sparked a comeback from the hosts, who eventually won 23-18.
Erasmus told reporters afterwards that his hooker was spent and insisted that he was not replaced because of the overthrown lineout.
“Bongi has not played a lot and you could see he was struggling,” Erasmus said afterwards, as quoted by the KweseESPN website.
“You can ask the guys, the deal is everyone plays as long as he can and as soon as you start struggling, the sub comes on. I substituted my captain (Siya Kolisi) a few times during the June Tests.
"We tell the guys to empty the tank, see how far you can go and then we will bring the guy on the bench on and he will try to finish the match. It definitely was not for the overthrow because that was more a combination between Siya and the guys. It definitely wasn’t his fault.”
Erasmus further bemoaned the many individual mistakes made by his side.“To gift 14 points on a platter to a team, you’re (always) going to struggle to win the game,” Erasmus said after the Wallabies took advantage of early Springbok mistakes to score two first half tries.
“I thought our mauling went very well compared to last weekend, the scrums were good in the first half, but then there were moments when we lost vital scrums and lineouts, so it was a mixed bag of different mistakes. We were awful in the second half and played better in the opening half."
The Boks now travel to New Zealand on Sunday where they will take on the All Blacks in Wellington next Saturday (September 15) in the second away match of their Australasian tour.