British & Irish Lions

Rassie Erasmus says he'll 'step aside from Springboks' if needed in unprecedented video questioning refereeing calls

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Rassie Erasmus (Gallo)
Rassie Erasmus (Gallo)

In an unprecedented move, SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus recorded an hour-long monologue, again voicing his displeasure at what he called "unfair" refereeing decisions that occurred in the Springboks' first Test defeat to the British & Irish Lions last weekend.

Last Saturday's referee Nic Berry and television match official (TMO) Marius Jonker have come under fire for some of their decisions and inconsistencies during the match.

BIL1.mp4 from JJ on Vimeo.

READ | Clive Woodward takes another swipe at Rassie Erasmus: 'He is proving to be a bad distraction for SA'

Erasmus this week used social media to highlight the calls he found to be incorrect, but the 48-year-old took matters a step further by recording the solo video.

His comments could attract global rugby governing body World Rugby's attention, who appointed the officials for the tour, including this weekend's referee Ben O'Keefe and Mathieu Raynal, who will officiate the third and final Test.

"I'm not sure who this is going to [but], in my position as director of rugby, if this causes that I am not allowed to be a water carrier, that's fine. I'll step away from being a water carrier," said Erasmus in the soliloquy.

"If it means we're going to get a fine, I'll step away from the team management. If it means the Springboks will be in trouble, I'll say I did this in isolation - it's me personally who did this, not SA Rugby or the Springboks.

"I believe in fairness and in the system and that two teams must have an equal chance of competing in a match.

"I'm not saying the referee was a cheat at all. I'm just saying that we just wanted clarity on a Sunday night, which we got on a Tuesday.

"I am not very convinced with the clarity that we got from Nic Berry from this match."

Erasmus was particularly peeved by Lions coach Warren Gatland questioning South African Jonker as TMO in the build-up to last weekend's game.

Jonker disallowed a Willie le Roux try that he deemed was offside as the Springbok fullback was in front of the kicker when Lukhanyo Am toed the ball through to the tryline.

Erasmus was also displeased by Gatland's comments a week prior when the Lions mentor questioned why Faf de Klerk was shown only a yellow card instead of a red and wasn't further sanctioned by World Rugby after making contact with Josh Navidi's head.

"I have previously made mistakes by saying things in public about referees. And that normally comes back to bite you," said Erasmus.

"But in this instance, with the Lions coming around every 12 years, I believe it should be fair that I step away from the last two Test matches to let the Springboks and the Lions have a chance on the field when it comes to laws, respect and the way players get treated."

Saturday's second Test at Cape Town Stadium kicks off at 18:00.

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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