Former international referee Alain Rolland has called on World Rugby to investigate the Springboks’ use of Rassie Erasmus as the team’s water carrier.
Erasmus, SA Rugby’s director of rugby, has been on the sidelines and carried tactical messages during the warm-up games for the Lions series.
The former Springbok coach’s presence there prompted a chirp from British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland, who suggested Erasmus should actually carry some water when he runs on to the field during stoppages and not just messages.
However, in an interview with the Daily Mail, former Test referee Rolland, who took charge of the 2007 World Cup final, has now said that Erasmus is technically bending World Rugby’s laws and shouldn’t be allowed to continue standing on the touchline in the first Test in Cape Town on Saturday.
“Rassie Erasmus shouldn’t be allowed to play the role of water carrier on Saturday,” Rolland told the newspaper.
“Head coaches are not allowed in the technical zone. Rassie Erasmus is head coach in everything apart from name.
“It doesn’t sit comfortably with me. I’ve got no doubt that it will get looked at by World Rugby.
“I’ve got no doubt that it’s been raised this week and will get looked at by World Rugby,” Rolland added. “It may be very difficult to stop because technically South Africa are not breaking the protocol.
“If South Africa are able to prove that he’s not the head coach, there may not be an awful lot of action that can be taken in such a short period of time. It’s hard to change these things on the hoof. There’s normally a protocol to change a protocol. Even if they want to do something about it, they may have to wait until November.”
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