’Don’t forget the water, Rassie,’ says Warren Gatland
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DURBAN – British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has a message for his counterpart at the Springboks, Rassie Erasmus, as the verbal sparring between the two goes up a notch as the Test series approaches.
Speaking on Thursday after naming his team to play the Stormers on Saturday, and the day after his team had lost to a Bok team masquerading as “South Africa A”, Gatland had a dig at Erasmus’s role as the Boks’ waterboy, which he first performed when the Boks played Georgia a fortnight ago.
“Last night, he’s a water boy and running onto the pitch, but the thing is if you’re the water boy running onto the pitch, you have to make sure that you are carrying the water. 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!”
Erasmus, in turn, had baited Gatland by suggesting the Lions were scared to take up the offer of a rematch with SA A instead of them playing the Stormers. But Gatland was never going to take the bait…
“I think Rassie was just trying to wind us up by saying we were scared, which he is sometimes capable of doing,” Gatland said.
On a more serious note, Gatland was annoyed that scrumhalf Faf de Klerk had not been given a red card for an armless challenge on a Lions player. De Klerk was given a yellow after a TMO review but Gatland feels it should have been more.
“I can’t understand the comments that there was no contact to the head,” Gatland said. “Someone was watching a different picture to me. It looked reckless to me, no arms, and he’s hit the arm first and then the shoulder, but then there’s definitely head contact.
“We’ve got a meeting with the referees tomorrow just to get a little bit more clarity on that. What we want is complete consistency.
“There is a citing commissioner who looks at those things. It will be interesting to see what the referees come back with and what other people who have had a look at it come back with.”