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"Accidents happen" - Nienaber accepts fire pit story from Munster pair


Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber says the fire pit incident involving his Munster contingent is "not ideal". 

However, Nienaber accepts the version of events provided by Damien De Allende and RG Snyman.

The pair - along with Mike Haley and CJ Stander - all required treatment for superficial burns following an accident with a fire pit over the weekend.

De Allende revealed, "We were just sitting around the fire and one of the boys threw a bit of petrol over the fire and then it caught his hand and he just tried to put it down on the floor and then the whole thing caught alight and exploded."

Snyman and De Allende sustained burns to their legs, hands and face in the incident, momentarily placing doubt on their involvement in the Boks' series with the British & Irish Lions.

They'll see a burns specialist on Friday, but look set to be cleared to travel home for the Lions tour.

"I’ve spoken to both of them, and they are fine, that is most important thing, and their families are fine," Nienaber told a press conference on Wednesday.

"Often the first instinct is just to ask whether they are ready to play or not, but you need to first check on their well-being.

"They are seeing a burn specialist, and if he clears them to fly, or whenever he does, they’ll be on a plane back to us, bearing in mind they may need a couple of days so sort out logistics and flight times."

Nienaber worked under Rassie Erasmus at Munster - prior to the arrivals of both Snyman and De Allende - and it's that local experience that's helped him see the players' side of things.

"Accidents happen and, as with any accident, it’s not ideal. But it’s not something we can control.

"I actually understand from my time in Munster and knowing what the weather is like, if you want to have a wood fire then you throw some petrol on and light it that way because the wood is often wet. I did the same.

"That’s the way it is done over there. They explained it me, and it made sense.

"The fire just ran up into the canister, then the canister fell and ran up on to them.

"I’ve worked in a burns unit during my medical days, so I understand the pain of the recovery and healing process that they are now facing. So, we’ve wished them well and luckily it was largely superficial burns.

"It could have been worse, but it’s not going to be a deep scarring thing and they are going to get through it.

"Of course, it’s not ideal; as a head coach you’d want them to be fine and training, but now we have to make plans to get them into the mix as soon as possible while taking care of their well-being first and foremost."

Barring further complications, Nienaber hopes to have the Munster duo available for the Springboks' warm-up matches with Georgia early next month.

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Read more about

British & Irish Lions CJ Stander Damien De Allende Jacques Nienaber Lions Mike Haley Munster RG Snyman South Africa Springboks

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