British & Irish Lions

Steaming Rassie dissatisfied with refereeing feedback, prompting unprecedented detailed viral video

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SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus during a virtual media conference on 28 September 2020.
SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus during a virtual media conference on 28 September 2020.
Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images
  • Rassie Erasmus said World Rugby's slow turnaround with regards to giving them feedback on the first Test officiating partly prompted the solo video that has now gone viral.
  • Erasmus said the Springboks were too quiet in the media with regards to officiating prior to the 22-17 Lions defeat.
  • Heat is now on New Zealander Ben O'Keefe, who will be in charge of Saturday's second Test at the Cape Town Stadium.

SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus said World Rugby's slow turnaround in addressing refereeing flaws from Saturday's first Test defeat against the British and Irish Lions added to the frustrations he aired in a viral video

In a leaked one-hour solo video, Erasmus explained how he had to wait until Tuesday to receive feedback from World Rugby head of match officials Joel Jutge, which he felt had unsatisfactory explanations from Australian referee Nic Berry.

Erasmus said World Rugby's sluggish turnaround affected how they prepared the team for a Test and how they selected their match-day 23, with the 48-year-old explaining how he contacted Berry the day after the 22-17 first Test defeat at the Cape Town Stadium.

BIL1.mp4 from JJ on Vimeo.

The video appears to be shot on Tuesday, the day when Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber announced the match-day 23 for Saturday's second Test (18:00).

"To get feedback on Tuesday for things that you actually can't change, with the team already selected while World Rugby has this protocol, that I've never seen, of how they operated in the Six Nations in terms of getting feedback on the Tuesday. It really doesn't make sense to me," Erasmus said.

"The frustration came in when we did lose the match and when we went through the review, from where we tried to set up a call with Nic Berry so that we could discuss things.

"We wanted to get clarity on things that didn't make sense to us in the game. I'm not sure if we were right and we needed him to take us through that.

"We sent what was required and told him nothing will be discussed in the media and look at things that happened in the way he said they would, but they didn't.

"I stressed to him that it's an important call. I sent him the clips, but he then said he can't talk to me anymore and he can only talk to me on Monday after he's reviewed the game with Joel Jutge."

The 2019 Rugby World Cup-winning coach, who on Tuesday berated British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland for questioning South African Marius Jonker's competency as a television match official (TMO) replacement for New Zealander Brendan Pickerill, said he couldn't afford to keep quiet anymore.

Pickerill couldn't come to South Africa due to Covid-19 regulations, a circumstance that necessitated Jonker's appointment as the TMO.

The Erasmus video will only add more pressure on Kiwi Ben O'Keefe when he officiates the second Test. 

O'Keefe infamously dished out a red card to Wallaby back Marika Koroibete, which World Rugby later rescinded.

"We said we won't talk about stuff that is in the media, but in the week, Warren spoke about Marius Jonker and Faf's (de Klerk) yellow card. There were a lot of things that were said and we kept quiet," Erasmus said.

"The Test match happened and, in our opinion, and I know a lot of people won't agree, but understanding where all of this comes from may give some people clarity and make people understand how important rugby is for South Africans.

"I will retweet because there were no bones about it when Warren Gatland said stuff in the media when we were dead quiet.

"We felt that the way things unfolded on the field, we weren't benefitted by staying quiet. That's why I'd like Joel, Nic, Ben, Mathieu (Raynal) and Marius Jonker or SuperSport eventually to get this."


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 and 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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