WATCH: Match officials showed Springboks captain Siya Kolisi a ’lack of respect’
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DURBAN - In an extraordinary video posted on social media, Rassie Erasmus has dissected the first Test between the Springboks and the Lions and highlighted multiple cases of “unfairness” towards the South Africans and a “lack of respect” shown by the match officials towards the Boks and captain Siya Kolisi in particular.
In the 150 years or so of the game of rugby, no coach — or in the case of Erasmus, Director of Rugby — has gone to these lengths to make a point in the build-up to a Test match in what is clearly a bid to influence how Saturday’s second Test between the teams is refereed.
In the hour-long video, Erasmus points out a string of inconsistencies from Australian referee Nic Berry. Erasmus says in his preamble to the painstaking video analysis that he phoned Berry on Sunday morning to discuss video clips of the game but Berry had been sleeping and asked him to call back, and then late on Sunday he told Erasmus he could not discuss the game with him.
Further, Erasmus says he is willing to step away from any role in the second and third Tests — notably carrying the water — if it will ensure the Boks are treated fairly.
Erasmus says the narrative from the Lions is that the Boks do not know the laws of the game and simply rely on a power game to steamroll opponents. Erasmus points out how in one instance, Berry “laughs Kolisi away” while listening intently to Wyn Jones.
Among Erasmus’ long list of complaints — all backed up by video proof — are the following:
- A late and armless shoulder charge on Faf de Klerk.
- On numerous occasions Lions players do not roll away after making a tackle while Berry was immediate in punishing Kwagga Smith for the same offence despite a Lions player ensuring that Smith cannot roll away by pinning a leg on him.
- Makazole Mapimpi is held back by Elliot Daly when is trying to chase a kick, and when Siya Kolisi asks the officials to look at it, he is waved away by a touch judge but Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones is allowed to make his case to the same officials regarding Cheslin Kolbe knocking-on in the same movement.
- Lions players get away with high “seatbelt tackles” while Boks do not.
- Berry is inconsistent in how long he allows for advantage — he shows the Boks getting an eight-second advantage and then the Lions get a 46-second advantage.
- Lions wing Duhan van der Merwe comes in from the side of a ruck and picks up Mapimpi and clears him out dangerously. A double yellow card in the opinion of Erasmus.
- Maro Itoje not supporting himself at a ruck to push the ball into the ground to prevent De Kerk from clearing.
- Hamish Watson spear-tackles Willie le Roux in a “yellow card at the very least.”
- Lions prop Tadgh Furlong arrives at a ruck and jumps on top of it to collapse it.
- There is no compelling evidence for Willie le Roux’s try to be disallowed.
- Kolbe is challenged in the air — an offence on its own — and then when Kolbe is lying prone on the field, potentially seriously injured — Mako Vunipola arrives and “picks up Cheslin like he is a doll”. Erasmus is furious at this “total disrespect for the Springboks”.
- Watson scrums in on the neck of Ox Nche, injuring him to the point that he cannot play this week and to add insult to the injury, gives the Lions a penalty.
In conclusion, Erasmus rants that there is a “comical” disparity in respect shown by the officials towards the two teams.
Saturday’s referee is New Zealander Ben O’Keefe, with Berry running the touch. South African Marius Jonker is once more the TMO.