Rassie Erasmus has confirmed that he has been in communication with Nigel Owens as the Springboks hope to bring the former Test referee on board as part of their preparation for the upcoming World Cup. DYLAN JACK reports.
Erasmus was speaking in Stellenbosch on Wednesday following a wide-ranging briefing from the Springboks and Springbok Women on their plans for 2023.
After Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber gave a run-down on the recent 14-player camp that was held in Cape Town and Stellenbosch to prepare for the World Cup, Erasmus was asked about the rumours that the Springboks are interested in Owens.
The Springboks are eager to add a referee coach to their staff to accompany the team for the World Cup in France later this year, with Owens the reported top candidate for SA Rugby.
The successful candidate would be looked on to improve the relationship the Springboks, Test referees and World Rugby after some tension between the parties after the last couple of years.
“I wouldn’t say there have been negotiations. I phoned him, he WhatsApped me back, we had a good chat,” said Erasmus.
“I explained to him exactly what we need. The way we communicate with World Rugby, we have tried different ways, I have made some errors there. I think there were errors on both sides.
“The Springboks and South Africa are much bigger than having some scuffles with one another. There are a few other options. In our first coaches planning meeting we discussed how we just don’t have the insight in how these guys see us and how we come across.
“It still needs to be taken to committees and has to be approved before we get approval to go with that. But, yes, I had a good discussion with Nigel. He explained his situation to me. I explained why, when and how I think he can help us.
“He has some personal things that he has to sort out, but we should know in the next week or two from both the steering committee and Nigel himself whether we get the go-ahead.”
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