British & Irish Lions

Bok assistant coach takes aim at World Rugby, says Gatland 'destroyed the dignity of the series'

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Siya Kolisi and Mzwandile Stick during the Springbok Showdown post-match press conference at Newlands on 3 October 2020.
Siya Kolisi and Mzwandile Stick during the Springbok Showdown post-match press conference at Newlands on 3 October 2020.
Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images
  • Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick said World Rugby must censure British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland first for questioning Marius Jonker's appointment as the television match official.
  • This came after World Rugby released a statement on SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus after he released a video that criticised Nic Berry's officiating.
  • Stick pleaded for equal treatment for them ahead of Saturday's second Test between the Lions and the Boks.

Defiant Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick says World Rugby should have laid into British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland for being the initial instigator when he challenged the appointment of Marius Jonker as the replacement television match official for last week's first Test.

In what was a spicy pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday's crucial second Test between South Africa and the British & Irish Lions at the Cape Town Stadium, Stick said World Rugby will have to sanction Gatland first before they come for SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus's for his leaked 62-minute video that highlighted glaring inconsistencies in Nic Berry's officiating.

The Australian's on-field and off-field conduct came in for stinging criticism from Erasmus, an action that earned the ire of World Rugby and taken rather personally by Berry's home union Rugby Australia.

Stick said Brendon Pickerill's inability to come to South Africa due to Covid-19 travel restrictions wasn't something they could control.

"World Rugby's integrity was challenged by another human being when Marius Jonker was appointed as the TMO," Stick said.

"Someone on the other side went straight for it and challenged that decision, while everyone knows the challenging times that we live in.

"The other gentleman (Pickerill) couldn't travel because of Covid-19 protocols and that's something that's not in our hands.

"That appointment was publicly challenged by the coach of the other team and until today, I haven't heard any statement about him apologising for that.

"If Rassie gets into trouble for what he said on social media, the gentleman who challenged the integrity of the game when he challenged the appointment of the TMO destroyed the dignity of the series and challenged World Rugby's integrity."

Stick said there was nothing wrong with the mode of media Erasmus used to communicate his displeasure, but also pleaded for the attention of the series to return to the field.

"We're not asking for much to be honest. We're not asking for favours. We just want equal grounds because it took us 12 years to get to where we are," Stick said.

"I wouldn't like for the series to be overtaken by the decisions taken by the officials or the coaches off the field.

"There are traditional press conferences and there's social media that's very powerful, while there's been a lot between Gatland and Rassie.

"It remains that birds have different sounds, but they all come from the same bush."

Kick-off is at 18:00 on Saturday.


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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