Rassie Erasmus has offered to step back from South Africa’s series against the British and Irish Lions in an intense 62-minute video that intensifies his online campaign against Warren Gatland’s tourists.
Erasmus raised a number of concerns over the officiating of referee Nic Berry in the Springboks’ 22-17 defeat in last Saturday’s first Test at Cape Town Stadium.
South Africa’s director of rugby also defended his role as a water carrier and accused Berry of treating home captain Siya Kolisi differently to Alun Wyn Jones, the tourists’ skipper.
“There was a vast difference between who he was taking serious and who he wasn’t taking serious,” Erasmus said, ahead of the second Test this weekend.
The mastermind of the Springboks’ 2019 World Cup triumph revealed that the video has been produced without the knowledge of his union.
“If you guys request that I’m not involved further with these Test matches, no problem. If you request I’m not a water carrier, no problem,” Erasmus said.
“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’ll withdraw myself from the Springbok management team.”
Erasmus believes the Lions gained an advantage ahead of the series opener by using the traditional media to highlight an illegal tackle by Faf de Klerk in the South Africa ‘A’ game and criticize the appointment of Marius Jonker as TMO.
Jonker, a South African, is in place for all three Tests after New Zealand’s Brendon Pickerill was forced to pull out because of coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
“We feel we got no joy from anything because we were quiet last week and they were all over the media,” said Erasmus, who has repeatedly attacked the Lions on Twitter.
“I am not sure where this video is going and I am not sure where I am after this or what will be the repercussions after this.
“In some of the clips I might have sounded sarcastic and I apologise for that, I guess some of the frustration is just I don’t understand at this level we are waiting 12 years to play a match like this.
“We just said let’s not moan in the media and here we are on a Tuesday morning with an hour of 26 clips because Nic was not available, and they only do their review on a Monday and we have got one training session after today and we haven’t had any feedback. It is a negative place to be at. I think we can do it much better.”
2017 Tourist James Haskell has warned the Lions they simply cannot afford to make any mistakes in the second Test at Cape Town, likening the Springboks to a wounded animal following defeat in the opening stanza.
“I think what is going to happen is that South Africa are going to do what they normally do, but with more intensity,” he said on talkSPORT Breakfast.
“They actually do have a reasonable balance to their game; when you think of South Africa, you think of route one, just running direct into contact.
“Actually, they have got a clever kicking game, they have a very good set piece game and they run extremely hard and are very difficult to stop.
“They sort of went away from that in the second half, they stopped playing and actually, there was a couple of opportunities where they cut the Lions apart.
“And I think that is why you are seeing some changes; you are seeing Chris Harris come in for Elliot Daly, he’s a former teammate of mine and a brilliant player, but he just had a couple of defensive lapses.
“Chris Harris has probably one of the form centres; him coming in is going to make a difference. Conor Murray is a fantastic box-kicker so again, Ali Price is very good, but just adding that balance.
“They cannot afford to play anything loose.”