Ashley Western SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus.
The Boss

'From a South African fan point of view, Rassie can do no wrong'

The Springboks director of rugby was discussed on today’s episode of The42 Rugby Weekly.

WHEN THE DUST settles on the Lions Test series, Rassie Erasmus will have to ready himself for a disciplinary hearing after World Rugby charged him and SA Rugby with misconduct for the director of rugby’s now-infamous 62-minute video.

As discussed on today’s episode of The42 Rugby Weekly, Erasmus will have huge support in South Africa as he looks to avoid sanction for his criticism of referee Nic Berry and World Rugby’s feedback processes.

South African sportswriter Craig Ray of the Daily Maverick joined Bernard Jackman and Murray Kinsella on the podcast to outline how Erasmus’ actions have now challenged an entire World Rugby system that needs to be improved.

Craig: “From a fan point of view, Rassie can do no wrong. Rassie is right and that’s pretty much the South African point of view, even if it is a bit more layered than that.

“From a journalistic point of view, I understand why people are upset about the way he did it, I totally get that. But you’ve also got to wonder at what point does someone say, ‘Enough is enough. We keep sending videos and clips to World Rugby, we keep asking for clarification, we keep having the same issues come up again and again.’

“Rassie is talking from a South African point of view but I’m sure a lot of other coaches feel similarly in their games.

“I guess he got to a point where it was about timing, there was a bit of Warren Gatland and the Lions sort of playmaking before the first Test. The Boks had lost, there was pressure, and he weighed up the decision as to whether it was wise to wait until after the series or try to get maximum benefit for the Springboks by doing it this way.

“He also knew he was going to be raked over the coals. It came down to a situation where the content of his message is strong and good, perhaps the delivery and the timing is debatable depending on which side of the fence you sit.”

rassie-erasmus-with-siya-kolisi Billy Stickland / INPHO Erasmus has been a waterboy for the Springboks. Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

Bernard: “I agree with Craig, unfortunately, we have spoken on this podcast before about how refereeing is struggling to keep up with the game and getting left behind.

“Every coach is sending in clips. A couple of referees reached out to me after Rassie did  the video and they said that ‘now the world gets to see our world.’ Effectively, referees are getting that footage every week but the problem is we don’t see any real improvement, consistency, or action.

“All the coaches get are apologies. If Rassie waited until after the third Test, what good is an apology?

“He’s also doing it from a position of strength, they have won the World Cup. OK, they lost the first Test match but he wasn’t under massive pressure for his job. He didn’t do it in a post-match press conference full of emotion, he doubled-down during the week and we got an hour-long insight into where his grievances are.

“I really do hope this is a turning point for World Rugby and the officials. I understand it’s very difficult for them but even the citing process from the second Test showed up that it’s miles behind where it needs to be.

“The one incident they cited proved not to be punishable, the Kyle Sinckler one. There was other stuff in that match that surely was worth a look at. The whole thing is an amateurish system with professional people being paid to run it and it’s getting further behind.

“Let’s get a rugby match this weekend, then let Rassie defend himself, and see if World Rugby are willing to make the changes internally to make sure that someone like Rassie doesn’t have to do this again.”

Today’s edition of The42 Rugby Weekly saw the lads discussing a double blow for the Boks after key figures Faf de Klerk and Pieter-Steph du Toit were ruled out.

There was also focus on the Lions’ six changes to their starting team, the influence of Gatland’s coaching staff, and how the tourists can recover from last weekend’s struggles at the maul and scrum.

You can listen to The42 Rugby Weekly below or wherever you get your pods.

Bernard Jackman and Murray Kinsella are joined by Craig Ray on The42 Rugby Weekly to preview the deciding third Lions Test on Saturday.

The42 Rugby Weekly / SoundCloud

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