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Hands off Rassie

We have to confess that, no matter how hard we try (see what we did there?), we’re just not that into rugby. But we are big fans of Rassie Erasmus, SA’s no-nonsense, big-hearted director of rugby. As head coach he led the Springboks to World Cup glory in 2019, also ending years of ridiculous debate about merit vs quotas by showing how BOTH are crucial. So when he was charged with misconduct by World Rugby this week, we sat up and took notice. 
Here’s the background: the British & Irish Lions are in Cape Town playing three Test matches against the Boks. But the first of the matches, on July 24, angered local fans after the match officials and referee made a series of what seemed like very questionable decisions, putting SA on the back foot.

We lost badly. We’ve all shouted at the referee from the safety of our couches, but Erasmus took it one step further with a 62-minute video in which he called out 26 mistakes. He took particular issue with the lack of what he called “respect” for Team SA. In one clip he featured, the referee turned his back on captain Siya Kolisi and seemed to laugh at his concerns while talking respectfully to his Lions counterpart. Many think Erasmus leaked the video just in time for the next test match last Saturday. If he did, it worked – SA won convincingly.

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 05 August 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.