Cape Town - Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has explained his decision to controversially substitute hooker Bongi Mbonambi in September's Rugby Championship clash against the Wallabies in Brisbane.
Given a rare start, Mbonambi overcooked a lineout that led to a Matt Toomua try in the 33rd minute of a fixture that Springboks would go on to lose.
Immediately after the try, Mbonambi was substituted for Malcolm Marx and social media immediately exploded with questions over Erasmus's lack of faith in Mbonambi.
Now, months later, Erasmus has opened up on that decision.
In an exclusive interview with SuperSport commentator Matt Pearce, Erasmus explains that the decision to substitute Mbonambi was made before the lineout error.
"The interesting thing in that match, and I wish that Bongi was here to talk about it today, is that five or six minutes before that I was planning to sub Bongi," Erasmus said.
"As he threw the overthrow, I actually cancelled it and said 'boys, don't sub him now because people are going to think we subbed him because of the overthrow and it would give his confidence a dent.'
"A coach would never take off a player who has just made a big mistake.
"His effort and output was beginning to drop ... before the overthrow we told him that he had another two minutes. It was nothing to do with the overthrow and he knows it and the whole team knows it."