Erasmus can continue as water carrier, but may be monitored

Rassie Erasmus will be able to continue his role as a water carrier for the Springboks, but World Rugby have reportedly briefed officials to monitor the role he performs.

British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has taken more than one subtle and sarcastic dig at Erasmus for performing the role of ‘water boy’ during the Springboks’ warm-up Test against Georgia and again in the SA A game.

“The thing is if you’re the water boy running onto the pitch, you gotta make sure that you are carrying the water,’ Gatland commented after the Lions’ loss to the SA A team.

“So I didn’t quite understand what his role was. You don’t run onto the pitch, carrying messages without the water. My advice is next time, he must make sure he is carrying water when he does that.”

Gatland apparently met Nic Berry, who will referee Saturday’s Test, on Thursday to establish clarity around certain subjects ahead of the opening match between the Boks and Lions.

It’s believed that World Rugby legislation only states head coaches cannot be pitchside, and Covid regulations allow for more water carriers.

So despite the gripes of former international referee Alain Rolland, who stated that Erasmus performing this role “doesn’t sit comfortably” with him, there is nothing stopping from Erasmus continuing to perform this duty for the team.

However, some reports suggest World Rugby have briefed officials to make sure Erasmus does not overstep his role, presumably in terms of providing coaching input when bringing water onto the field.

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Gatland had previously chirped that Erasmus’ role as ‘water boy’ was not “the greatest look for the game”.

During his meeting with Berry, the Lions coach previously stated he’d also be showing the referee certain video clips of South African players.

“I really like him [Berry] as a referee. He’s an excellent referee, one of the best and still a young referee as well,” Gatland said. “Having played at the highest level, the top level himself in terms of top rugby I think he’s got a really good understanding of the game.

“So looking forward to him refereeing on Saturday and we’re just looking to have a conversation with him just to make sure that we’re on the same page.

“There’s a couple of clips we want to show him from a South African perspective, things that we’re seeing and just ask their opinions on it, just to make sure we’re very clear about what he’s looking for from us and the way he’s going to interpret and referee the game.”

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Craig Lewis