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Lions address Rassie rant and give update on Biggar availability

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Lions skipper Alun Wyn Jones has fobbed off the first Test refereeing criticisms of Springboks director of rugby Rassie Erasmus, claiming he felt in the heat of the moment that he wasn’t getting more favourable treatment from referee Nic Berry and his officials than was given to South African captain Siya Kolisi. 


A spectacular 26-clip, hour-long video of Erasmus berating the officials was made public on Thursday two days after it was initially filmed on Tuesday, but Jones sought to downplay the incendiary allegations by claiming he was only just back from Lions training and wasn’t fully clued into the myriad of complaints that had been made.

Asked what he thought of Erasmus taking to social media to question the officiating in the first Test, Jones replied: “To be honest I am not long back from training. I have heard a little bit about it but I haven’t seen anything. As I am sure you are aware, I have got a bit more to focus on between the white lines and that has been my focus.”

Video Spacer

Rassie Erasmus’ spectacular 26-clip, hour-long criticism of the first Test officials
Video Spacer
Rassie Erasmus’ spectacular 26-clip, hour-long criticism of the first Test officials

Do you think he is trying to put pressure on the officials this weekend? “I don’t know. That is a question you will have to ask him.”

Do you think it will put pressure on the officials? “I don’t know. That is a question you will have to ask the officials.”

Do you think it is right that a coach should question the officiating, is it good for the game? “It highlights the passion and the commitment that people have for the sport. Right or wrong, the method is not for me to comment on. Ultimately the sport is in a good place and hopefully it can go forward in a good place as well.”


Erasmus suggested in his video that you and the Lions were given more respect by the officials compared to Kolisi, what would you say to that? “Again, it is probably a question for the officials. In the heat of the moment I didn’t feel like we had any advantage because a lot of the time I was standing there next to Siya… the outside perception I can’t really comment on.”

Looking back over your long Test career, is there more chat and scrutiny and debate about officials today than there ever has been? “No, I don’t think so. The game is changing and it does get difficult for players the way the speed of the game is going, the ball in play, and sometimes the refs have the hardest job in the game being in the middle of all that. 

“They have assistants and a TMO and more than ever decisions are being focused on, but it has always been the way. They have always been scrutinised, it’s just probably in vogue at the minute and it has been highlighted this past week.”  

Turning his attentions to Saturday’s second Test, Jones expected Dan Biggar, who is currently going through the concussion return to play protocols, to line out in the Lions’ No10 jersey. Asked how likely it was that Biggar would start, Jones said: “I wasn’t aware he was carrying anything. As I can see he has trained fully and I am not a part of the medical team so I can’t give you any committed answer on that.”


Has he been able to train much this week? “As I already said, yes.” 


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