Former international ref brands Rassie's antics 'appalling' and 'cheap'
Former international referee Alain Rolland has branded Rassie Erasmus’s antics as ‘appalling’ in a column in which he says the Springboks Director of Rugby has brought the game into disrepute.
Erasmus attacked the performance of Australian referee Nic Berry in a controversial one-hour video, in which he even went as far as suggesting Berry had been disrespectful to Springbok captain Siya Kolisi.
Speaking out on behalf of his former profession, Rolland has slammed Erasmus’ behaviour in his Daily Mail column. The former Leinster scrumhalf – who enjoyed a 14-year Test refereeing career after his playing one, before retiring in 2014 – said that the South Africans have ‘absolutely’ brought the game into disrepute.
“I’m sick and tired of people bashing the guys in the middle. If you don’t have referees, you’re not going to get a game.”
“I’ve never seen anything like it. One of the core values of our game is respect for officials and Rassie has gone completely against that. In fact, he’s taken it to a whole new level.
“Has the game been brought into disrepute? Absolutely. You can’t question Nic Berry’s character and integrity. It’s unacceptable.”
Rolland claims that Erasmus was drawing attention away from the players, some of whom had poor games against the British & Irish Lions.
“It’s just a ploy to distract attention from South Africa’s players and coaches. Nobody’s talking about how many kicks Handre Pollard missed now, are they? That’s what coaches do. It’s a cheap way to take the pressure off themselves.”
Speaking on the eve of Saturday’s second test at Cape Town Stadium, Kolisi doubled down on the clain of his DoR: “I didn’t feel respected and I feel I wasn’t given a fair opportunity.”
Kolisi say he’s expecting a different game from the second Test referee, Ben O’Keefe.
“I’m looking forward to a new game and a new referee,” Kolisi said. “I think Ben will give a fair opportunity for both captains, and that’s all we’re asking.”
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now