‘I can categorically state that Rassie Erasmus did not leak the video.’
Rassie Erasmus’ lawyer has denied that the South Africa director of rugby intentionally released the video he made criticising the officiating performance in the first British and Irish Lions test.
The Rugby World Cup-winning coach made an hour-long video in which he pointed out several questionable referee decisions from the Springboks’ first test against the Lions, and must now face a World Rugby hearing for doing so.
However, Erasmus’ lawyer Frikkie Erasmus has told South African publication Netwerk24 that the former Springboks head coach only sent the video, which appeared on Vimeo, to World Rugby and referee Nic Berry.
— World Rugby Media (@worldrugbymedia) August 2, 2021
Rassie Erasmus denies leaking the video.
“I can categorically state that Rassie did not leak the video,” Frikkie Erasmus said.
“The media has since reported it as fact that Rassie did it. The truth is that he went through the official channels.”
It is not unusual for coaches to contact referees to seek clarification on several decisions after a game, but the public nature of Erasmus’ criticism means that the South African is facing a possible fine and/or suspension.
World Rugby deemed Erasmus to have breached regulation 18 of their rules, and have summoned the South Africa director of rugby for a misconduct hearing.
Warren Gatland unhappy with World Rugby’s statement.
In the World Rugby statement in which they announced Erasmus would have to face a hearing, the sport’s governing body implied that members of the Springboks and Lions squads had criticised the officials.
Lions head coach Warren Gatland took umbrage to the statement, and denied that he or anyone else in his camp had criticised the officials during the test series.
The build-up to the final test has been more focused on the rugby rather than the referees and off-field drama, but tensions are still expected to be very high between two sides with no love lost between them.