Rassie Erasmus
South Africa’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus acted as a water-carrier during the first Test with the British and Irish Lions

South Africa boss Rassie Erasmus has piled further pressure on match officials for the British and Irish Lions Tests with an extraordinary hour-long video monologue railing against the refereeing in last weekend’s series opener.

The Springboks director of rugby says he has made this unprecedented move to ensure his side get an “equal chance” in Saturday’s crucial second Test.

Among his gripes, Erasmus feels the South African players – and captain Siya Kolisi – did not get the respect afforded to the Lions and their skipper Alun Wyn Jones.

He also says he will “walk away” from the last two matches, before seeming to retract that later in the video.

“The Lions only comes around every 12 years and I think it should be fair that I’ll step away from these last two Test matches,” Erasmus said.

“But let the Springboks and the Lions have an equal chance on the field when it comes to laws, respect, the way players are treated, what is said in the coaches’ pre-match meeting with the referees, how they give feedback post-match and how things are said in the media.

“It’s comical the respect the [officials] showed towards the South African players compared to the Lions players.

“There was a vast difference between who he was taking serious and who he wasn’t taking serious.”

After a lengthy introduction, in which he defends his role as a water-carrier during the first Test and says he tried in vain to contact referee Nic Berry on Sunday evening for “clarity” over the officiating, Erasmus proceeds to micro-analyse a number of incidents in the first Test that he feels went against the Springboks.

Erasmus ends the video by saying it is “no problem” if World Rugby decides he should not now be involved in the rest of the series, or should not continue as a water-carrier.

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

Controversy around the officiating has been a constant theme of the series, with the Lions raising concerns before the first Test over the appointment of a South African television match official.

“The way the pressure was put on Marius Jonker in the week by Warren Gatland was uncalled for,” Erasmus added in the video.

“We feel we got no joy from anything because we were quiet last week and they were all over the media.

“We feel we got no positive results on the field.”

The New Zealander Ben O’Keeffe will referee Saturday’s second Test, with Berry and the Frenchman Mathieu Raynal as his assistants, and Jonker again the TMO.

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