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Rassie Erasmus releases explosive hour-long criticism of refereeing

The SA Rugby director of rugby has picked apart Nic Berry’s performance in the first Test.

SPRINGBOKS DIRECTOR OF rugby Rassie Erasmus has released an explosive video that contains a scathing critical review of Nic Berry’s refereeing performance in the Lions’ first Test victory over his team last weekend.

Over the course of just over an hour, Erasmus details the decisions he believes incorrectly went against the Springboks, while outlining his frustrations at World Rugby’s slow feedback around the refereeing, as well the Lions’ “moaning” before the first Test.

The World Cup winner’s video is partly addressed to World Rugby’s head of match officials Joël Jutge and director of rugby Joe Schmidt, as well as the match officials from last weekend, but Erasmus also says “I’m not sure who this [video] is going to” after suggesting that it could be distributed to South African TV.

Erasmus says he is willing to accept any punishment that comes his way as a result of the video being released.


Source: JJ/Vimeo

“In my position as director of rugby, if this causes that I’m not allowed to be a water-carrier, fine I’ll step away as water-carrier,” said Erasmus.

“If this means we’re going to get a fine, I’ll step away from the management team. If this means the Springboks will be in trouble, I will say I did this in isolation. It’s me personally who did this, not SA Rugby or the Springboks, because I believe in fairness and a system and two teams having an equal chance of competing in a match.”

Erasmus says he is not suggesting that Berry “was a cheat at all” but expressed his frustration at the Springboks not being able to get swift feedback on the first Test from the referee and World Rugby.

Erasmus claims that he called Berry on Sunday, the day after the game, but Berry “said he was still asleep, it was 5 o’clock in the afternoon on a Sunday so we understood that.

“We waited until he woke up and when he woke up, he said we could send through the clips to him. 

“I forwarded him the clips and he said he can’t talk to me anymore, he can only talk to me on Monday after he has spoken to Joël Jutge, which was weird for me because before that he was keen to chat through it.

“Then I phoned v on Sunday night and he didn’t answer but there was a French voice note on the other side and I couldn’t speak French, so I just left it there.

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“On Tuesday morning, today, we got feedback on things you actually couldn’t change anymore and your team was already selected. World Rugby has this protocol, we’ve never worked on this protocol and Joël sent me an email saying this was how they operated in the Six Nations. We didn’t play in the Six Nations.”

Erasmus’ detailed video review picks apart a wide range of decisions and non-decisions by Berry and the other match officials last Saturday.

Erasmus also accuses the Australian referee of treating Springboks captain Siya Kolisi differently to Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones and generally having a lack of respect for the South Africans.

“There was a vast difference between who he was taking serious and who he wasn’t taking serious,” said Erasmus. The way they listened to Siya was not the same as Alun Wyn.”

The video concludes with Erasmus again saying he is willing to step aside if World Rugby deem that to be necessary after this unprecedented video.

“If you think this was going over the top and this shouldn’t go out to the media, then I did this in my personal capacity, not as part of the Springboks, and I will withdraw myself from the Springboks’ management team. Thank you.”

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Murray Kinsella

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