CJ Stander is confident that Rassie Erasmus will find a way around World Rugby’s new rules barring SA’s director of rugby from being the Springboks’ water-carrier.
The sport’s governing body on Tuesday approved a trial to limit the number of backroom staff entering the field and stop them from interfering with play.
Erasmus, SA Rugby’s director of rugby, caused an outcry during the 2021 British & Irish Lions series against the Boks, being on the sidelines and carrying tactical messages during matches.
The current regulations stipulate only the head coach was prevented from being on field, but World Rugby on Tuesday announced that it will expand the wording to include both coach and director of rugby positions.
Shortly after the law change was announced, Erasmus took to social media to suggest that he will change his job title to circumvent any possible stipulations.
was just talking to my line manager yesterday!! She also thought “Director of Rugby” has a such a formal ring to it ! We agreed that Director of coaching will be so much better title for me! Lekka !! Cant wait https://t.co/1QYEkzdLF2
— Rassie Erasmus (@RassieRugby) May 17, 2022
Speaking during a wide-ranging Vodacom United Rugby Championship online media briefing, former Munster and Ireland No 8 Stander said if anyone could find a way around the law change, it would be Erasmus.
“I am smiling because I saw his tweet,” Stander said. “But there are always ways around it. If you get technical, there is an advantage to having your coach, director of rugby, or anybody who is knowledgeable. Lots of teams have coaches on the side of the pitch, running water. It just depends who it is.
“So, I don’t think they will ever get to clamping it down to not have anybody there because, when I was playing as a captain or a player, it was good to get those messages from somebody who has a different perspective.”
Stander added that as a former player, he feels that there is a tactical benefit to having a sideline coach carrying messages to players during a match.
“I can see why they want to clamp it down, but there will always be a way around it. I also think it helps the game, not just him [Erasmus] but the game in general. When I was playing we had defence coaches running around with water. It just gives you confirmation when you make a decision on the field that it is the correct one.”
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Sportsfile via Getty Images