Former British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has joined the chorus of those criticising SA Rugby’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus.
Erasmus has been vocal on Twitter over the last two weeks, highlighting officiating issues against the Springboks.
It came after South Africa’s narrow defeats in Dublin to Ireland (19-16) and Marseille to France (30-26).
At a press conference in Genoa on Tuesday, Erasmus remained unapologetic, insisting that he was not criticising referees.
“It’s not about criticising the officials. If I were going after the referee, I doubt Wayne Barnes would make all those [perceived] bad decisions. “He’s the best in the world and has played 100 Tests,” Erasmus said.
“Clearly, something on our end needs to be addressed. I simply want my supporters to understand this. I have no control over what people do with that.”
Gatland has called on SA Rugby Erasmus to rein in Erasmus in a column for The Telegraph.
Erasmus, according to Gatland, should follow the World Rugby channels.
“We don’t see other rugby directors or head coaches doing the same thing.” It’s a little disappointing, in my opinion. There is a procedure in place for people to submit game reports and receive feedback. And I’d like to see Rassie follow suit,” Gatland wrote.
“I don’t see any justification for what he’s doing.” It’s not a good look for the game, in my opinion. The last thing we need is coaches using this [social] media [approach] to make game-related comments.”
Gatland led the British and Irish Lions on their tour of South Africa last year. A video that was leaked after the Lions won the first Test overshadowed the series. Erasmus criticised the performance of Australian referee Nic Berry and South African TMO Marius Jonker in the video.
Erasmus was then barred from all rugby-related activities for two months, as well as any match-day activity until September 30, 2022. He was also barred from attending Bok press conferences.
“You pick out things and send in clips where you want clarification and that’s the process you go through,” Gatland explained. “Good referees will come back and put their hands up on calls they’ve made incorrectly, and you accept that because it’s human nature.” We’re going to make mistakes because they can’t see everything, things are moving so fast, and you understand that people can’t see every situation.
“I just think that as coaches and administrators, there is a process that we need to follow.” You’d like to think that someone, whether it’s someone from the South African Rugby Union, their CEO, or a phone call, will approach Erasmus and say, ‘I don’t think you’re doing yourself or World Rugby any favours by putting these things out on social media.’ Allow the public to do so and follow the proper procedures.”