Watch the South Africa coach take André Esterhuizen aside to teach him how to hit higher, following Saturday's incident
Rassie Erasmus coaches ‘Owen Farrell tackle’ in Springboks training
Whether it is poking fun, ‘trolling’ or even hammering home a point, South Africa boss Rassie Erasmus took a novel approach to having another say on the Owen Farrell tackle incident.
During preparation for the Springboks’ showdown with France this Saturday, Erasmus took André Esterhuizen aside and had him hitting a tackle bag – then asking him to go a bit higher on the bag because his first chop was too low.
Esterhuizen was the man hit by Farrell. In the closing exchanges of England’s 12-11 win over the Boks, the England fly-half put a shot on the South African utility back that forced a turnover. It has since caused a big stir.
The TMO stepped in at the time, and as the hit initially looked high from Farrell, with little wrapping of the arms, many expected a sanction. However referee Angus Gardner ruled that there was enough of an arm wrap to count as a tackle, so there was no foul play. The game ended.
Debate has raged on about whether the tackle was high and deserving of a penalty and even a card, or whether everyone needs to move on and forget about it. Erasmus, it seems, was unwilling to do so.
Where do you stand on it? It has certainly tickled a few people…
Asked about the incident immediately after the game, Erasmus said: “We should start tackling like that and execute it like that. Nothing upset me about the tackle we just have to latch on that if it is legal, it is effective. Tackle a guy like Andre and stop him in his tracks is some going. There is no sarcasm at all.”
Related: Owen Farrell tackle divides opinion
You have to say, whether it was for the cameras or not, the coach has stayed true to his word. We will wait and see what the fall-out from this is…
Meanwhile, Farrell is clear to play against the All Blacks this weekend. In recent days New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has revealed that he talks regularly with England counterpart, Eddie Jones and that he has a lot of respect for him. No doubt there will be a physical contest on Saturday, but England cannot rely on a one-off hit or kick. So what are England likely to do?
Hansen said: “He’s got a tremendous work ethic, Eddie; he does a lot of homework, and through that he will have identified some areas he’ll want to try to target.”