World Rugby has refused to comment about the video in which Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus shows André Esterhuizen how to tackle without using his arms.
The video is proving popular on social media after the controversial finish to the Test match between England and South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday, when Australia referee Angus Gardner failed to penalise Owen Farrell for tackling Esterhuizen in the 84th minute without appearing to use his arms.
The Springboks would have had a goal kick to win the game had they been awarded a penalty; as it was, Gardner ruled after calling for a TMO review that Farrell had made enough of an effort to wrap an arm round his opponent to make the tackle legal — leaving the England flyhalf punching the air in delight.
The tackle polarised opinion on Saturday, with England coach Eddie Jones describing it as a “good solid tackle” and former Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll saying the TMO got the decision “spot on” while former Ireland back Luke Fitzgerald, who was forced to retire at 28 with a neck injury, said that under the new interpretation of the tackle law it should have been a “minimum of a penalty…shocking adjudicating”.
Farrell was not cited for the tackle and will be available to face the New Zealand All Blacks this weekend.
Erasmus suggested at the Springboks’ post-match press conference that his team would start tackling opponents in a similar manner if it were legal to do so.
‘We should start tackling like that and execute it like that,” Erasmus said.
“Nothing upset me about the tackle.
“We just have to latch on that if it is legal.
“It is effective.
“To tackle a guy like André and stop him in his tracks is unbelievable.”
Erasmus and Springboks defence coach Jacques Nienaber subsequently were filmed on Monday showing Esterhuizen how to execute a tackle similar to that made by Farrell.
World Rugby’s head of communications, Dominic Rumbles, declined to comment when asked by South Africa’s Sport24 if Erasmus would face punishment for the video.
“We will not be commenting on the video,” Rumbles told Sport24 by email.
“I’m not commenting on this,” he said when asked again whether Erasmus faced punishment for his comments at Twickenham.
The video was filmed at the end of Monday’s training session at the French Olympic High Performance Centre in Paris, which had been closed to media, but a Springboks spokesperson insisted to Sport24 that the footage had not been filmed or disseminated by a team representative.
Former South African referee Andre Watson, who officiated two Rugby World Cup finals, meanwhile, said on Monday that Farrell’s tackle on Esterhuizen was “undoubtedly a penalty”.
Watson told Netwerk24 on Monday that Farrell’s tackle “was dangerous”.
“It was not worthy of a red card and it was right that World Rugby did not cite the player, but there’s not much doubt that it should have been a penalty,” Watson said.