South Africa boss Rassie Erasmus increased the pressure on match officials for the British and Irish Lions tests with an extraordinary hour-long video monologue against the referee in the opening game of the series last weekend.
The Springboks rugby manager said he took the unprecedented move to ensure his team had “a level playing field” in Saturday’s crucial second test.
Among his criticisms, Erasmus believes that the South African players – and captain Siya Kolisi – did not get the respect accorded to the Lions and their skipper Alun Wyn Jones.
He also says he will “walk away” from the last two matches, before appearing to retract later in the video, which was posted on Vimeo.
He spoke for 62 minutes, directly on camera, and said the content was produced without SA Rugby’s knowledge.
“The Lions only come back every 12 years and I think it should be fair that I step away from those last two test matches,” Erasmus said.
“But that the Springboks and the Lions have an equal chance on the pitch when it comes to the laws, the respect, the way the players are treated, which is being said at the pre-game coaches meeting with the referees, how they give their opinion after the match. match and how things are said in the media.
“It’s funny the respect that [officials] shown towards South African players compared to Lions players.
“There was a big difference between who he took seriously and who he didn’t take seriously. “
After a long introduction, in which he defends his role as water carrier during the first Test and says he tried in vain to contact referee Nic Berry on Sunday evening to “clarify” the arbitration, Erasmus proceeds to the micro-analysis of a number of incidents in the first test which he said went against the Springboks.
Erasmus ends the video by saying that it is ‘no problem’ if World Rugby decides that he should not now be involved in the rest of the series, or should not continue as a water carrier.
“If you think that was overdoing it, and that it shouldn’t be broadcast in the media, then I did it as an individual, not as a member of the Springboks, and I will be retiring from the leadership team of the Springbok. , ” he said.
The refereeing controversy has been a constant theme of the series, with the Lions raising concerns ahead of the first test over the appointment of a match official on South African television.
“The way the pressure was exerted on Marius Jonker during the week by Warren Gatland was unwarranted,” Erasmus added in the video.
“We don’t think we’re happy because we were silent last week and they were all over the media.
“We believe that we have not obtained any positive results on the pitch. “
New Zealander Ben O’Keeffe will referee Saturday’s second Test, with Berry and Frenchman Mathieu Raynal as assistants, and Jonker again the TMO.