Erasmus first drew plenty of attention when he served as a ‘water boy’ during the British & Irish Lions series, with a World Rugby ruling allowing for an extra person to fulfil this sideline role.
Some onlookers thought it was rather strange to see a director of rugby performing such a duty, including Lions coach Warren Gatland, who said he certainly wouldn’t be found in such a role.
However, it worked a treat for the Springboks, with Erasmus feeding information to the players, while also serving as another set of eyes from the sidelines.
Erasmus was seemingly being fazed out of the role after the Lions series, but interestingly returned to a ‘water carrier’ position for the penultimate Test of the year against Scotland.
Some critics have increasingly questioned his input from the sidelines, while there have been other accusations against other Bok management members who serve matchday roles on the sidelines.
Meanwhile, on Friday, World Rugby confirmed that it had issued a written warning to Rugby Australia and Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie for comments criticising officials immediately after Australia’s final Autumn Nations Series match against Wales in Cardiff on 20 November. At the end of the statement, there was also a key line about the role of support staff.
World Rugby to also review role of Water Carriers
“World Rugby, with the full support of its Executive Committee and the wider game, is fully committed to reinforcing an environment that supports and protects match officials, while providing an appropriate feedback process. To that end, a review of the process is already underway, consulting with match officials, coaches and unions. In addition, the protocols and behaviours relating to team support staff, including water carriers, will be reviewed at the same time,” a statement read.
“Match officials are the backbone of the sport, and without them there is no game. World Rugby condemns any public criticism of their selection, performance or integrity which undermines or threatens their role, the trust-based coach-officials feedback process, and more importantly, the values that are at the heart of the sport and must be upheld.”
Davie Rennie and Rugby Australia have issued the following statement: “Dave Rennie wishes to apologise to the match officials and to World Rugby for the choice of language used in post-match media commitments following the Wallabies Test match against Wales in Cardiff.
“The choice of language and its timing did not meet the standards required from a coach or official in upholding Rugby’s core values of discipline, integrity and respect.
“Rugby Australia and Dave Rennie accept the formal warning issued by World Rugby.”