Gregor Townsend has accused Rassie Erasmus of ‘character assassination’ for instructing Springbok fullback Willie le Roux to target a Scotland player during last weekend’s Test at Murrayfield.
Following the Springboks’ 30-15 win in Edinburgh, video footage went viral of Erasmus appearing to instruct Le Roux to target one of Scotland’s players under the high ball.
While most fans have seen the humorous side of the incident, Scotland head coach Townsend was left irritated by it and accused Erasmus of ‘sledging’.
“I wasn’t really aware of it at the time but someone showed me a video of him making comments about one of our players, a character assassination or sledging or whatever,” said Townsend. “That’s not the role of coaches; it’s not the role of anybody on the sidelines to be doing that.
“If we want our sport to go down a different route then we allow these things to happen. That was really disappointing to see and I know it wasn’t the only incident over the weekend, over that game.”
Erasmus was on Wednesday banned for two months after being found guilty of six counts of misconduct during the British & Irish Lions series by an independent committee.
Townsend, who served as the Lions attack coach during the series, felt the ban was justified.
“That was a really bad episode for our game,” he said. “I was there at the time so I experienced what was going on.
“I have since spoken to Nic Berry about it and he went through a really tough time and so did his family. That was a real shame and a pity that these things can happen in our sport. I don’t think it could have been allowed to continue.
“Those antics – we can’t fall into that trap of winning at all costs and putting pressure on individuals.
“It has been a while for that decision to come. That would be my only frustration, that it has taken so long to come to this decision.”