British & Irish Lions

Lions have not watched Erasmus 'sideshow', says scrum coach McBryde

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Rassie Erasmus. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Rassie Erasmus. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Robin McBryde said on Friday that neither he nor the other British and Irish Lions coaches had watched a video in which Springboks boss Rassie Erasmus slams the first Test refereeing.

"That is just a sideshow," said the scrum coach during an online news conference on the eve of the second Test against world champions South Africa with the Lions leading the three-match series 1-0.

McBryde said the tourists had complete faith in New Zealand referee Ben O'Keeffe, who will handle the potential series decider at an empty Cape Town Stadium because of the coronavirus pandemic.

BIL1.mp4 from JJ on Vimeo.

The Welsh coach does not believe O'Keeffe, assistants Nic Berry from Australia and Mathieu Raynal from France and South African TV match official Marius Jonker will be affected by the Erasmus video.

First Test referee Berry was severely criticised by Erasmus and sections of the South African media blamed Jonker for a disallowed Springbok try and Lions' Hamish Watson not being punished for a dangerous tackle.

ANALYSIS | First Test fallout: 7 shocking calls Rassie Erasmus exposed that will rattle World Rugby

"Ben is professional enough. We are all professional enough. If I was on social media looking for things, I could find them," said McBryde.

"I am not on social media, it's a different world to me. It's just that it has been highlighted this week and brought to everybody's attention so we know it's there.

"As Ben said, we are aware there is a lot of stuff out there on social media, but that is not going to affect anything.

"Everyone realises they (match officials) are in a tough place. They have got a tough job to do. But we were really happy with Nic last Saturday and I do not think it will be any different this weekend.

"Regarding Ben, we have no issues. He is a top man and we are looking forward to working with him on Saturday.

"We were not surprised by anything last Saturday from Nic and we had a good conversation with the referees yesterday."

Turning to fly-half Dan Biggar, who suffered concussion during the second half last Saturday, McBryde said the Wales playmaker had came through the return-to-play processes.

"Dan will complete his graduated return to play today with his final contact training session ahead of the match on Saturday.

"He has been symptom-free since his post-match head injury assessment and remained symptom free throughout the process."

Biggar will have a new half-back partner in the starting line-up with Conor Murray replacing Ali Price, who is on the bench.

Teams:

South Africa

15 Willie Le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff

Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Damian Willemse

British & Irish Lions:

15 Stuart Hogg (Scotland), 14 Anthony Watson (England), 13 Chris Harris (Scotland), 12 Robbie Henshaw (Ireland), 11 Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland), 10 Dan Biggar (Wales), 9 Conor Murray (Ireland) 8 Jack Conan (Ireland), 7 Tom Curry (England), 6 Courtney Lawes (England), 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain, Wales), 4 Maro Itoje (England), 3 Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie (England), 1 Mako Vunipola (England)

Substitutes: 16 Ken Owens (Wales), 17 Rory Sutherland (Scotland) 18 Kyle Sinckler (England), 19 Tadhg Beirne (Ireland), 20 Taulupe Faletau (Wales), 21 Ali Price (Scotland), 22 Owen Farrell (England), 23 Elliot Daly (England)

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