World Rugby limits water carriers, BUT Rassie Erasmus has a ‘plan’!

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Rugby chiefs have approved a trial to limit opportunities for non-playing personnel to access the pitch after South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus operated as a water carrier to pass on advice.

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Erasmus was criticised for his role in giving instructions while carrying water during South Africa’s Test series against the British & Irish Lions last year.

Governing body World Rugby said on Tuesday that the aim of the trial, which applies to all matches after July 1, was to “improve the flow of matches by reducing unnecessary stoppages without compromising welfare”.

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Teams will be allowed up to two dedicated water carriers but they cannot be a director of rugby or head coach.

Rassie Erasmus, joking (we think!) on social media ahead of World Rugby’s statement, told his Twitter followers: “Was just talking to my line manager yesterday!! She also thought ‘Director of Rugby’ has a such a formal ring to it ! 

“We agreed that Director of coaching will be so much better title for me! Lekka (nice) !! Cant wait.”

Water carriers will only be able to enter the field of play twice per half at points agreed with the match officials – this can only be during a stoppage in play or after a try has been scored.

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A penalty kick will be given if support staff attempt to “field or touch the ball while it is live in play” and if they approach or address match officials, unless they are medical staff.

Rassie Erasmus will have to abide by these rules

“Helping the game to flow better while not compromising on the welfare of players is a key aim of these trials,” said Mark Harrington, World Rugby’s chief player welfare and rugby services officer. 

“We are taking concrete action to improve the flow of rugby matches. This will be the first time teams on the field of play could be sanctioned (over) the actions of those not directly involved in the contest.”

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For all competitions, including Rugby World Cup 2021 playing in 2022, Rugby World Cup 2023 or stand-alone matches that begin after 1 July 2022 the following adjustments to Law 6 will apply:

Medics

– Can only provide water to players who they are treating

– Cannot field or touch a ball when it is live in play (sanction: penalty kick)

Additional personnel

– Teams are permitted up to two dedicated water carriers

– Water carriers cannot be a Director of Rugby or Head Coach

– In elite-level rugby, water carriers will only be able to enter the field of play twice per half at points agreed with the match officials – this can only be during a stoppage in play or after a try has been scored

– A person bringing on a kicking tee may carry one bottle for the kicker’s use only

– These water/tee carriers must remain in the Technical Zone at all times before entering the field of play as permitted. Any attempt to field or touch the ball while it is live in play, including the technical zone, will be sanctioned with a penalty kick.

– No-one should approach, address or aim comments at the match officials, save for medics in respect of treatment of a player. Should this happen, the sanction will be a penalty kick.

Players on the field

– May access water behind the dead ball line or from within their Technical Zone at any time

Rassie Erasmus
Rassie Erasmus. Photo: Backpagepix

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