Brilliance bordered on eccentricity when Rassie Erasmus took to the Vodacom Park stadium roof to communicate with his on-field staff last Friday night.
The Free State coach was seen high above the stands sending light signals to his management during the crunch match against Vodacom Western Province, a game the home side won 28-13.
Erasmus told Dan Retief of Superrugby that this was not the first time he had used the lights to signal his charges, but rather the first time it was shown on television. Despite the negative comments, he has no intention of discarding this practice.
â€œItâ€™s something we came up with after the introduction of the technical areas for on-field back-up personnel,â€ he explained. â€œThe medical team are not allowed to run around anymore and we believe this system works better than radios.
â€œIt also enables me to signal trends or instructions to be relayed to the players because I very much doubt that they can be involved in the game while also keeping an eye on the lights.â€
Erasmus saw nothing wrong with this method of communication. As usual, the wily Vodacom Cheetahs coach is just thinking outside of the box.
â€œItâ€™s nothing more than a different way of having calls or names for certain moves. Thereâ€™s no coach who doesnâ€™t send out instructions, normally with the medical guys, and we have simply come up with a new way of doing it.
â€œIf there is an injury I can signal to the medical guys and by shaking or nodding their heads they can tell whether a substitute is needed or whether a player is able to stay on. If I want the team to kick more, or drive the ball more, I can do that.â€
The position provides a great overall view of the match, but at other stadiums he admitted that he may not be afforded the privilege of heading up to the roof.
â€œAway from home I try to sit as close to the technical area as possible to be able to communicate my instructions. Itâ€™s not a big deal; just another part of coping with home and away games.â€