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Rassie Erasmus explains why Clive Woodward 'annoys him' and how he 'admires' Eddie Jones

By Sam Smith
(Photo By Ashley Vlotman/Sportsfile via Getty Images and by David Rogers - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

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Springboks Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus has come to the aid of embattled head coach Eddie Jones and says that ‘no one’ knows how teams will fare at the World Cup in 2023.

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Writing a column in the Daily Mail UK, Erasmus said that the latest Six Nations, in which Wales finished 5th and England finished 3rd, would have no bearing on the World Cup in 18 months time.

“You can’t look at the latest performances in the Six Nations to determine how teams will perform at the World Cup,” he wrote, adding that is obvious France are the favourites.

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“Everybody can see that France are red hot. Everybody knows France are the favourites. Everybody can see Antoine Dupont is a bull terrier. I can’t wait to see him against Faf de Klerk.”

Erasmus highlighted his own experience when taking over the Springboks in 2018, when the side lost to Australia and Argentina whilst ‘trying new things’ as part of the planning and building phase.

“Something might look awful right now but it could be part of the planning. Teething problems. There are different mechanics to every organisation so you don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes,” he wrote.

“That’s why it annoys me when Sir Clive Woodward tells us how to do things in South Africa because he is not privy to what we are really doing.”

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Erasmus then went to bat for England head coach Eddie Jones who he said he ‘admires in a weird way’ and continued to ask questions of Clive Woodward.

“England are getting a lot of criticism but they will be strong at the World Cup. Don’t tell me Eddie has suddenly become a bad coach. He is a good rugby man who texted me when I was in trouble with World Rugby,” he wrote.

“Clive says Eddie should have a rugby expert to report to? Clive knows English rugby better than me.

“Maybe a buffer between Eddie and the board and the fans could be a good thing that would allow him to focus on the coaching. Or maybe he enjoys that stuff.

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“If you can deal with the board, the crowd, Clive Woodward, the media, then that’s 60 per cent of the work done.

“When I was coach, I didn’t want to speak to the CEO and board members. I wanted to speak to a rugby person.”

Erasmus also penned his thoughts on South African players playing in the English Premiership, which he said was a bonus for South Africa who were free financially to develop the next player coming through while the ex-pat players blocked the pathway of local English players.

“There are six or seven South African players taking the places of young English players at Premiership clubs. For us, it’s wonderful,” he explained.

“Is it good for England that Faf de Klerk is starting ahead of Raffi Quirke at Sale? No. Is it good for South Africa? Yes, it works for us.”

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