Warren Gatland told England to report South Africa to World Rugby, here's why - Ruck

Warren Gatland told England to report South Africa to World Rugby, here’s why

During the Rugby World Cup, Warren Gatland urged England to address their concerns regarding South Africa’s frequent use of Head Injury Assessments (HIAs_ with the sport’s governing bodies.

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Gatland’s history with South Africa’s director of rugby, Rassie Erasmus, includes a notorious fallout during the 2021 British & Irish Lions tour.

Erasmus drew criticism for his antics as a “water boy,” a role typically reserved for carrying refreshments, which World Rugby subsequently banned. Gatland famously quipped: “If he is going to act as a water boy, at least he should have some water in his bottle.”

In his Telegraph column, Gatland offered advice to England head coach Steve Borthwick, saying: “I know what it is like to go head-to-head with South Africa’s director of rugby, and my advice to Steve Borthwick would be to make sure he gets on the front foot ­- and combat any dark arts.”

“To have any chance against the Springboks you must attempt not just to match them physically but also to be tactically smart and show no signs of mental weakness,” Gatland added.

Gatland suggested raising concerns subtly to highlight issues from a refereeing perspective. “For example, if I was Steve, I would be asking some questions about the number of head injury assessments that South Africa called for in their victory against France.

“I am not questioning whether they were legitimate or not but there have been people out there speculating about it and I would certainly be putting it out there and highlighting that it looked unusual and raising questions about the protocol.”

When asked if he would use HIA regulations to rotate players for rest, Erasmus responded curtly: “no.”

Five biggest shocks from Borthwick’s latest squad – Zach Mercer left out again

There were a number of high-profile absentees as Steve Borthwick named a 19-player training squad to begin preparations for the forthcoming Summer Series against Japan and New Zealand.

The squad will assemble at Pennyhill Park on Monday 27 May for a four-day training camp.

England’s Summer Series begins on Saturday 22 June with a Test match against Japan in Tokyo before embarking on a two-Test tour of New Zealand in July.

High-profile absentees:

#1.Joe Launchbury (Harlequins)

There have been rumours that the veteran might have done enough to earn a recall. Although he missed the last few games due to a calf injury, there’s still a good chance he could join the squad as the final announcement approaches.

Joe Launchbury of Harlequins during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Gloucester Rugby and Harlequins at Kingsholm Stadium on October 14th, 2023 in Gloucester, England. (Photo by Phil Mingo/PPAUK/Gallagher)

#2. Zach Mercer (Gloucester)

There was a lot of buzz this week about Mercer possibly returning to the international team. However, yet another squad was announced without him being recalled. The sidelined number 8 must be questioning what more he needs to do to earn a spot on the team.

Zach Mercer of Gloucester Rugby during the Challenge Cup Final Match between Gloucester Rugby and Hollywoodbets Sharks at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on 24 May 2024. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK