Many British and Irish Lions fans will have felt hard done by to lose this summer’s series in South Africa, and it appears even the unions themselves were left upset by the result.
That’s after reports emerged suggesting the four home nations—as well as Australia—are piling pressure on World Rugby to throw the book at Springboks director Rassie Erasmus.
The South African reported England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland have implored rugby’s governing body to strictly punish South Africa’s chief for his public criticism of the officials.
It was after the Lions edged their hosts 22-17 in the first Test that a video was posted via Vimeo, where Erasmus railed unopposed for 62 minutes calling into question the performance of referee Nic Berry.
The officials were then embroiled at the centre of a second Test that lasted more than two hours due to stoppages and delays, where the Springboks punched back to win 27-9.
Afrikaans-language Rapport has since reported the Springboks could be stripped of that second Test win as a result of Erasmus’ rant, where he disputed more than 20 incidents and infringements.
Not only that, but it’s been suggested World Rugby could even overturn the series altogether in favour of the Lions, though it would represent a hollow victory for Warren Gatland ’s side.
The Lions coach said he was “disappointed” to have also been called for a disciplinary hearing on the tour relating to comments made about Marius Jonker being selected as the television match official.
New Zealander Brendon Pickerill was originally meant to be the series TMO, but his travel plans were shelved due to travel and quarantine restrictions.
South African Jonker was picked as the alternative despite the suggestion “World Rugby had known for at least a week or so” that Pickerill may not have been able to fulfil his duties.
Gatland explained his grievance was merely that “there wasn’t a contingency in place” to provide another, more impartial judge to take on the role.
The Lions boss also joked about Erasmus taking on the role of water boy during the tour, while the Springboks supremo denied using a Twitter ‘burner account’ by the name of ‘Jaco Johan’.
These numerous controversies only intensified the furore surrounding the series, which South Africa clinched after Morne Steyn kicked his side to a 19-16 triumph in the deciding Test.
Reports earlier in August suggested World Rugby felt Erasmus had ‘crossed a line’ with his public criticism of match officials, fearing it would deter people from becoming referees in future.
The 2019 Rugby World Cup -winner recently tweeted again following a brief hiatus, posting screenshots of a fable titled ‘Don’t Argue With Donkeys’.
The fable ends with a passage that reads: “The worst waste of time is arguing with the fool and fanatic who does not care about truth or reality, but only the victory of his beliefs and illusions.
“Never waste time on arguments that don’t make sense. There are people who, no matter how much evidence we present to them, are not in the capacity to understand, and others are blinded by ego, hatred and resentment, and all they want is to be right even if they are not.
“When ignorance screams, intelligence is silent. Your peace and quiet are worth more.”
The post appears to be a thinly veiled denial regarding the accusations being levied against Erasmus, while the home nations clearly feel they have a strong case against the director’s actions.
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