SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has hit back at Clive Woodward following the latter’s disparaging comments regarding the Springboks’ coaching set-up.
Woodward, a former British & Irish Lions coach, has suggested a lack of demarcation between the roles of director of rugby (Erasmus) and head coach Jacques Nienaber is ‘killing the Springboks’.
“They are friends, they worked together at the Free State, the Stormers and Munster but the dynamic has changed. Nienaber must now be in charge of the team, he is the main man, but on this tour you would never know it.
“It is clear that Erasmus has started taking over again, he is running around in a tracksuit and donning the water carrier bib even though – as Gatland observed last week – he never seems to dispense any water, nor even carry a bottle! He never forgets his clipboard, though.
“It looked comical, it was comical, and I am surprised South African Rugby are allowing it to happen. Erasmus is still coaching the team in all but name, but that’s not his job. He needs to butt out. He has become centre stage again. All the pre-match banter is conducted between him and Gatland – and Warren is eating him for breakfast.”
Asked about Woodward’s comments during an official online media conference on Tuesday, Erasmus nonchalantly shut down the importance of Woodward’s opinion, while also downplaying Woodward’s knighthood as a ‘Sir’.
“I don’t think ‘Sir’ is such a big thing here,” Erasmus said.
“I wouldn’t listen too much to Clive Woodward. He doesn’t really matter to me.”
As a player, Erasmus played against an England team coached by Woodward four times, and was on the winning side thrice, including a Rugby World Cup quarter-final at Twickenham in 1999.
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