British & Irish Lions

Clive Woodward calls on World Rugby to 'act now' against Rassie Erasmus

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Clive Woodward (Getty)
Clive Woodward (Getty)

Former England and British & Irish Lions coach Clive Woodward has again taken a swipe at SA Rugby's director of rugby Rassie Erasmus.

Woodward twice criticised Erasmus last week, suggesting he should take a backseat and allow allow Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber to take full control of the team's management reigns. Woodward also said Erasmus' comments on social media was proving a "bad distraction" for the Springboks in the ongoing Lions series.

Erasmus then took the unprecedented step by making a 62-minute video in which he hit out at the officiating in the first Test which the Lions won 22-17.

The Boks bounced back to win the second Test 27-9 at the weekend and Woodward was again left perturbed by Erasmus.

In a column for The Daily Mail, Woodward said he stood by his view that World Rugby should ban Erasmus from running the lines as a "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."

Woodward, who won the 2003 World Cup as England coach, said Erasmus' antics "should never be allowed".

"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."

Woodward added that Erasmus' video was one-sided as he only highlighted errors that went against South Africa.

"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."

The Springboks-British & Irish Lions series is now level heading into Saturday's final encounter at Cape Town Stadium.

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