Rugby chiefs have approved a trial to limit opportunities for non-playing personnel to access the pitch after Rassie Erasmus operated as a water-carrier to pass on advice.
SA’s director of rugby was criticised for his role in giving instructions while carrying water during the Springboks’ Test series against the British & Irish Lions in 2021.
World Rugby said on Tuesday the aim of the trial, which applies to all matches after 1 July, was to “improve the flow of matches by reducing unnecessary stoppages without compromising welfare”.
Teams will be allowed up to two dedicated water-carriers, but they cannot be a director of rugby or head coach.
Water-carriers will only be able to enter the field of play twice per half at points agreed with the match officials – this can only be during a stoppage in play or after a try has been scored.
A penalty kick will be given if support staff attempt to “field or touch the ball while it is live in play” and if they approach or address match officials, unless they are medical staff.
“Helping the game to flow better while not compromising on the welfare of players is a key aim of these trials,” said Mark Harrington, World Rugby’s chief player welfare and rugby services officer.
“We are taking concrete action to improve the flow of rugby matches. This will be the first time teams on the field of play could be sanctioned [over] the actions of those not directly involved in the contest.”
© Agence France-Presse