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Woodward claims World Rugby has charged Erasmus with wrong offence

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Ex-England boss Clive Woodward has hit out at World Rugby on two fronts, claiming they have reacted too late to the Rassie Erasmus video attack on match officials while also alleging that they have charged the Springboks director of rugby with the wrong offence. Woodward has been critical in recent weeks about the presence of Erasmus on the touchline for matches, carrying water but feeding messages into the South African players on the pitch during stoppages in play.   


This tactic continued in last Saturday’s second Test win by South Africa over the Lions, Erasmus running water for his team two days after his 62-minute, 26-clip video criticising the match officials was made public. That footage created a firestorm heading into a match that the Springboks won 27-9 to level the Test series and leave the outcome hinging on the result of this weekend’s third and final game.

It was Monday evening when World Rugby issued their reaction, charging Erasmus and SA Rugby with misconduct for comments regarding match official performance during the Test series versus the Lions.

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What Warren Gatland wants to speak to the referees about aheads go this weekend’s Lions third Test
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The controversy took another twist on Wednesday when Marco Masotti, who heads MVM Holdings which owns a 51 per cent stake in the Durban-based Sharks, tweeted he had “a team of New York lawyers ready to take care of Rassie and SA Rugby. Let us put World Rugby on trial”.

In the meantime, Woodward had another nibble at the Erasmus controversy, writing in his latest Sportmail column: “It was depressing to see World Rugby belatedly announce an independent investigation into Rassie Erasmus’ long rant last week. Too late. It was last week’s story, not this week’s but also it is the wrong offence.

“World Rugby need to be looking at his intimidating physical presence on the pitch as a bogus water boy at the same time as those he has been calling out are making key decisions. He has been doing it since the South Africa A game three weeks ago and that is when World Rugby should have stepped in with decisive action.


“The day after it should either have been a red card – stay in the stands – or, in the bizarre event of World Rugby thinking it is OK, they should have cleared him. It is ridiculous for World Rugby to equate (Warren) Gatland’s justified reaction to their own glaring incompetence in not having a neutral back-up TMO.”


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