David Rogers/Getty Images
Rassie Erasmus talks to Springboks captain Siya Kolisi and other leading players during the test series win against the Lions.
Springboks maestro Rassie Erasmus has received predictable support from South Africa and even some tentative approval from the northern hemisphere as he gets set to defend a misconduct charge laid down by World Rugby.
Erasmus and the South African union must submit their final submissions by Tuesday (NZT) to explain his outrageous 62-minute video tirade during the test series against the British & Irish Lions where he was hugely critical of the refereeing and accused Australian whistleman Nic Berry of showing a lack of respect to Boks captain Siya Kolisi compared to Lions skipper Alun Wynn Jones.
A hearing date still hasn’t been set, but if found guilty, Erasmus, the South African director of rugby, could face a sideline ban which would prevent him from continuing his controversial waterboy role in the looming Rugby Championship tests against the All Blacks and Springboks in Queensland.
Peter TeTai recalls the 1981 Springboks as friendly people who were interested in Invercargill and its people.
Former Springboks coach Ian McIntosh believes Erasmus “should be commended” for exposing some brutal truths to the game.
* The key areas where Springboks beat All Blacks
* ‘A grave disservice to rugby’ – Springboks and Lions savaged for ‘turgid’ series
* Springboks boss Rassie Erasmus in trouble for hour-long anti-referee rant
“It is not for me to say whether Rassie used the correct channels, but I do feel that something had to be done to gain the attention of the officials because the game has become far too complicated and a stop-start affair,” McIntosh told iol.co.za in South Africa.
“It has been spoilt for players, coaches and the spectators. The game has become over-officiated because of too many ‘provisions’ being added each year to the laws. Instead of World Rugby disciplining Rassie, he should be commended and a committee established to revise the laws which are too many, contradictory, and in some cases, nonsensical.
“Can someone respectfully inform World Rugby that the laws were intended to keep the game flowing, not stop it, and that the referee should become No31 on the field again and not No1.
“… Referees seem hell-bent on looking for penalties instead of letting the game go. How else is it possible for an average of 25-30 penalties to be dished out in a game? The old adage of blow the game and not the law has gone out the window.”
Amid suggestions that the Home Unions want World Rugby to come down hard on Erasmus who coach the Springboks to the 2019 World Cup title, former Welsh skipper Paul Thorburn had mixed feelings about the situation.
Thorburn, who was tournament director for the 1999 World Cup in Wales, believes Erasmus should have used other channels to make his feeling felt.
“In rugby it’s always been a given that coaches and players don’t criticise officials,” Thorburn told WalesOnline.
“You take the decisions that are given and you move on. That idea applied 30 years ago and it still applies today. It’s right that Erasmus is being called to account over what he said.
“It isn’t just the video, though. There are other questions that need to be asked over his conduct as well. What was a director of rugby actually doing acting as a water carrier during matches?
“Whether that was within the rules or not, or a loophole that’s just been exploited, it shouldn’t have been allowed.”
But Thorburn also admitted that Erasmus had highlighted some major problems with the way the game had developed.
He felt World Rugby had “created a monster” with complicated rules, though officiating excuses were hard to digest because of the technology available to referees to get their decisions right.
“Really, there can be no reason for wrong decisions any more, other than to suggest World Rugby have made the game so law-ridden that it’s become an absolute minefield,” Thorburn told WalesOnline.
“In that respect blame lies with World Rugby. I’ve had a go at (World Rugby chairman) Bill Beaumont and his trusted lieutenants before, but they’ve created an absolute monster.
“There are so many laws in the game, and laws have always been subject to interpretation by players and the officials.
“For a casual observer it must be hugely difficult to understand.”
South Africans celebrated the Springboks’ victory over England in the Rugby World Cup final in Yokohama.