The South Africa director of rugby also offers to step back from his role for rest of Lions series
Rassie Erasmus critical of officiating in new video
Rassie Erasmus has always done things differently and that came to the fore again when an hour-long video was released on a video-sharing platform.
In it the South Africa director of rugby questions several decisions by referee Nic Berry in the first Test against the British & Irish Lions and highlights clips of match footage to explain his thinking. These include inconsistency in the length of advantage played and breakdown rulings as well as the decision not to card Hamish Watson for a tip tackle. He said he thought Berry treated Boks captain Siya Kolisi differently to Lions skipper Alun Wyn Jones too.
Erasmus also offers to step back from his role with the Springboks for the last two Tests of the Lions 2021 series.
The hour-long video was originally posted on Vimeo and has since been taken down, although SA Rugby magazine has posted it on its YouTube channel.
All this follows Erasmus highlighting other match incidents on Twitter earlier in the week.
The Springboks lost the first Test 22-17 and in the new video Erasmus is also critical of the fact that it took until Tuesday for teams to receive feedback from the match officials.
He said the Boks management discussed team selection for the second Test on Sunday, with feedback and clarity on decisions coming too late for them to react and adapt to it in training on Monday and Tuesday. He describes it as “a negative place to be at”.
“I have previous encounters where I’ve made mistakes, saying things in public about referees and that normally comes back to bite you,” said Erasmus in the video. “But in this instance, the Lions only comes around every 12 years.
“And I think it should be fair that I’ll step away from these last two Test matches, but let the Springboks and the Lions have an equal chance on the field when it comes to laws, respect and the way that players get treated.”
Erasmus stressed that he had put together the video as an individual, not on behalf of the South Africa Rugby Union.
World Rugby has issued a statement saying: “World Rugby notes the comments made by Rassie Erasmus regarding match officating. The nature of these is being raised with the South Africa Rugby Union via the usual official channels and no further comment will be made at this stage.”
Further fuel was added to the fire on Friday when Siya Kolisi said: “I didn’t feel I was given a fair opportunity, or was respected at all.”
Assistant coach Mzwandile Stick also said that the Lions had “destroyed the integrity of the series” when criticising Marius Jonker’s appointment as TMO ahead of the first Test.
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