Clive Woodward has called on World Rugby to take swift action against Rassie Erasmus for releasing a video highlighting in detail a number of officiating inconsistencies in the first Test between the Boks and British & Irish Lions.
Woodward and Erasmus have been embroiled in verbal sparring since last week, with the former Lions coach saying Erasmus needs to “butt out” because his continued involvement with the Test team has led to a lack of demarcation between the roles of director of rugby (Erasmus) and head coach Jacques Nienaber that is “killing the Springboks”.
Woodward also commented on the South African director of rugby’s controversial video, saying: “Erasmus is all hot and bothered and is proving a bad distraction for South Africa while Warren Gatland has been statesmanlike.”
In response to the criticism, Erasmus said: “I don’t think ‘Sir’ is such a big thing here. I wouldn’t listen too much to Clive Woodward. He doesn’t really matter to me.”
Despite on the off-field sideshows, the Springboks went on to record an emphatic 27-9 win in the second Test to level the series 1-1.
On Monday, though, Woodward launched another scathing attack on Erasmus and pleaded with World Rugby to take the South African to task.
Writing in his latest Daily Mail column, Woodward says Erasmus’ antics should never have been allowed and asked that he be banned from his role as the Springboks’ water boy.
“Two days before the second Test, he put out an hour-long video criticising last week’s referee Nic Berry and his decisions – most of which I thought Berry got right, by the way,” Woodward wrote.
“It was a character assassination and also put Saturday’s referee Ben O’Keeffe on notice, as well as next week’s official, Mathieu Raynal.
“It is not part of rugby, and Erasmus knows it because in his video he pointedly invited World Rugby to ban him. His comments were intended to have a disruptive and intimidating effect ahead of the Test and in his mind his job was done. This was the perfect opportunity for World Rugby, the ‘non-governing’ body, to demonstrate who runs the game. They are allowing a shocking precedent to be set.
“There would have been more validity in his plea for consistency if he also highlighted some of the Bok misdemeanours, and the timing and direct attack on Berry was pretty transparent. It was all too personal.
“What I do expect is for World Rugby to be strong on coaches and directors of rugby swarming all over the pitch – and to act now.”
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