Cape Town – Former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers feels that Rassie Erasmus’ videos and social media posts about refereeing decisions “is not what our game is all about”, and that SA Rugby should call their director of rugby to order.
Erasmus was banned for the last two Tests matches of the November tour of Europe, against Italy and England, from being involved in the match-day activities of the Boks following a series of Twitter posts in the aftermath of the Ireland and France games.
The world champions had lost 19-16 in Dublin and 30-26 in Marseille, but there were a number of controversial calls in both encounters that went against the Boks.
The French clash in particular saw forward passes by the home side ignored, a questionable late yellow card to Deon Fourie, and the winning try seemed to involve a double movement, but was awarded anyway by English referee Wayne Barnes – after the communication line with the TMO broke down at that crucial juncture.
After Erasmus’ posts, which he insisted was about educating Bok fans and wanting to help the players avoid making supposed mistakes, World Rugby stepped in and suspended him for the two Tests – with Barnes having received “death threats” as well, according to the Guardian newspaper in the UK.
England’s Rugby Football Union then also wrote to SA Rugby to ask them to take further action against Erasmus, but subsequent to that, World Rugby have now engaged in discussions with the former loose forward and his employer to find a way forward to improve relations and the process of addressing officiating concerns.
De Villiers, though, said in an interview with The Rugby Pod podcast, whose presenters include ex-England flyhalf Andy Goode and former Scotland lock Jim Hamilton, that he didn’t agree with Erasmus’ approach.
“My take on this whole thing is: Why didn’t he put out the bad things that the Springboks were allowed to do? Then to me, it (would have been) a just call – because then he wants to show how bad the referee is on (all) his judgement calls,” De Villiers said.
“But whenever we lose, to go and sit there and show what he (the referee) missed here and what he missed there... he (Erasmus) had the time to replay and replay and replay, and then made the videos. This is not what our game is all about.
“Our game is to punch the guy here, and the strength to run over somebody and competing. But it’s become so soft nowadays, and with this little thing, I don’t think that we want to be exposed so much of our weaknesses in being part of the game.