Ireland and Scotland have poured cold water on the possibility of going into “cahoots” to knock South Africa out of the Rugby World Cup this weekend.
Jacques Nienaber, South Africa’s head coach, was asked by a French journalist earlier this week about that prospect, describing it as “match-fixing” and “extremely disappointing”.
Mike Catt, Ireland’s assistant coach, was subsequently asked about Nienaber’s comments on Tuesday.
“I don’t know what to say about that. I think he was asked the question, wasn’t he? He didn’t actually say it was match-fixing, did he” Catt said.
“That stuff is just white noise in the background. No, we’re not going to go in cahoots with Scotland.
“Firstly I’d ask you, would we want Scotland to beat us by 21 points? If you asked any player in this room, any of us, would they want Scotland to beat you by 21 points? No, sorry.
“Andy [Farrell] is fully aware of what’s going on and what needs to happen. Ultimately, both teams need to win the game. If you do that then you put yourself in a good position. That’s what we will try and achieve.”
The suggestion was also laughed off by the Scotland assistant coach Peter Horne.
“It’s not something we have paid too much attention to. Everyone understands the job we’ve got to do, the magnitude of it,” Horne said. “We’re purely focussing on ourselves this week. In the past, we’ve maybe built up the opposition and the occasion a little bit much instead of focusing on what we need to get right. If we do that, our destiny is in our own hands. That’s all we are worrying about.”
Meanwhile, Rassie Erasmus, South Africa’s director of rugby, had an exchange with the Irish radio show ‘Off the Ball’ on X, formerly known as Twitter, mocking a presenter who had joked about Erasmus’ comments from earlier in the week.
Erasmus on Monday said: “With full humbleness, and there is no arrogance saying this, but I’d rather sit here than be Ireland knowing that we’ve been number one in the world all the time and Scotland basically just have to beat them by eight points and they are out of the tournament.”
The former Munster coach shared a video of the presenter mocking him for that comment and suggested the presenter was a clown for doing so with an emoji.
— Rassie Erasmus (@RassieRugby) October 3, 2023
Erasmus is notably only following two accounts on X at the time of writing, those of the Ireland and Scotland teams.