Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has attempted to provide clarity on his on-field communication with veteran No 8 Duane Vermeulen.
The incident sparked some noise on Twitter after former Springbok flanker Thando Manana posted a screenshot of Vermeulen taking team conditioning guru Aled Walters’ headphones.
Its a FACT: Duane Vermeulen will captain Springboks in 2019 pic.twitter.com/QwkH87yVv9
— ThandoManana (@TandoManana) November 24, 2018
Manana implied that the 32-year-old was receiving tactical instructions from Erasmus and undermining Siya Kolisi’s role as captain.
However, according to Netwerk24, Erasmus “didn’t discuss any tactics” with his stalwart loose forward.
“I saw how Duane was clutching his shoulder, but the doctor and physio were busy treating other players,” the national mentor told the publication.
“Aled wasn’t aware of Duane’s niggle, but he was the man closest to him, so I asked him to go and ask Duane if he’s doing okay.”
Vermeulen was apparently perplexed and didn’t understand what Walters was asking him, so he opted to quickly communicate with Erasmus directly.
“He told me his shoulder was too sore to continue playing, so I decided to replace him with Francois Louw,” said Erasmus.
Regardless of what was actually said, Erasmus and Vermeulen could still be in trouble with governing body, World Rugby.
Law 4 (5h) states that no player may wear a communication device on the field of play.
World Rugby hasn’t commented on the incident yet.