Rassie Erasmus has no doubt that England will be back to their best under coach Eddie Jones at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
In a wide-ranging column for Daily Mail, Erasmus noted how Jones – currently under pressure after a disappointing Six Nations campaign – had come out in support of the former Springbok coach in the past.
Erasmus also advised former England coach Clive Woodward, one of Jones’ fiercest critics, to stop speaking on matters regarding rugby in SA “because he is not privy to what we are really doing”.
“England are getting a lot of criticism but they will be strong at the World Cup. Don’t tell me Eddie has suddenly become a bad coach. He is a good rugby man who texted me when I was in trouble with World Rugby,” Erasmus wrote.
“I admire him in a weird kind of way. I don’t agree with all of his strategies in the media but that’s not to say I’m right and he’s wrong. He made a lot of changes to his team recently but I’m sure he has a plan for the World Cup.
“Clive says Eddie should have a rugby expert to report to? Clive knows English rugby better than me. Maybe a buffer between Eddie and the board and the fans could be a good thing that would allow him to focus on the coaching. Or maybe he enjoys that stuff.
“If you can deal with the board, the crowd, Clive Woodward, the media, then that’s 60% of the work done. When I was coach, I didn’t want to speak to the CEO and board members. I wanted to speak to a rugby person.”
Erasmus, who recently ended a two-month ban for his infamous video in which he criticised match officials during the 2021 British & Irish Lions series in SA, also potentially risked the ire of World Rugby by commenting on his former role as the Boks’ water carrier.
“World Rugby have a working group and they want to stop directors of rugby from running on the water,” he wrote. “If I change my job title to director of coaching, can I run the water on then? Maybe I can be the ball boy and chat to Bongi Mbonambi at the lineout!
“Personally, I don’t see the problem with the waterboy thing. Of course the earpiece is not for the coaches to tell me that this bottle is only half full, let’s be honest about that.
“It’s not Jacques Nienaber saying, ‘S**t, Rassie, you only have 300ml left in your bottle!’”