Rugby Australia have criticised South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus for his hour-long video critique of referee Nic Berry.
Australian referee Berry took charge of the Springboks first test match against the British and Irish Lions, which ended 22-17 in favour of the tourists.
Erasmus was disgruntled with Berry’s performance as referee in the first test and went as far as to make an hour-long video in which he critiqued numerous aspects of the Australian’s performance.
The sport’s governing body in Australia has responded to Erasmus’ video with a statement through chief executive Andy Marinos, in which he defends Berry’s performance and character.
Cheslin is obviously played in the air and clearly not direct into touch!!More importantly for youngsters watching this clip!!!! Please never move or touch an injured player on the ground, its reckless and dangerous! Leave this to the 🏥 🙏🏼@WorldRugby @Springboks @lionsofficial pic.twitter.com/lEcp5L4PBf
— Rassie Erasmus (@RassieRugby) July 26, 2021
‘The attack on Nic’s integrity is unacceptable.’
“Match officials form the very fabric of our game – simply, the game would not exist without them,” Marinos said, via Nine.com.au.
“As a highly regarded and respected international referee appointed by World Rugby, the attack on Nic’s integrity, character and reputation is unacceptable.
“We have been in contact with World Rugby, under whose auspices this test series sit, and understand that they are actively reviewing this matter as some facts presented were not accurate.
“It is important to ensure public attacks of this nature are not tolerated. We will continue to provide support to Nic at this time, as both his physical and mental well being remains a priority for us.”
Siya Kolisi echoes Rassie Erasmus’ comments.
Springboks captain Siya Kolisi made similar comments about Nic Berry at a recent press conference, in which he said he “didn’t feel respected” by the Australian referee during the first test.
Ben O’Keefe will take charge of today’s game and Kolisi spoke positively about the New Zealander, saying that he thinks both captains will get a “fair opportunity” to speak in the second test.
While the officials are certainly under pressure to perform today, so too are the Springboks, as they must win the match to keep the hopes of claiming victory in the test series alive.