Springboks captain Siya Kolisi has said he “didn’t feel respected” by the officials in his side’s first test against the British and Irish Lions.
South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus aired his discontent about the officiating team several times this week, and released an hour-long video monologue in which he pointed out numerous questionable decisions.
During the video Erasmus claimed that the level of respect shown to Kolisi was “comical” and the Springboks captain echoed his director of rugby’s thoughts at a press conference yesterday.
— Springboks (@Springboks) July 30, 2021
Siya Kolisi on not getting access to the referee in the first test.
“First question, yes, I didn’t feel respected at all. I didn’t feel I was given a fair opportunity. That’s the answer to the first question,” Kolisi said, via the Irish Times.
“The second one, yeah, I’m looking forward to a new game and a new referee. I think Ben [O’Keefe] will give a fair opportunity for both captains and that’s all we’re asking.”
Kolisi refused to speak at length about his thoughts on referee Nic Berry’s performance and said that there is “proof” that Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones had more access to the Australian referee.
“I don’t really want to get into it, to be honest, but we can speak about it after the game. I’ll speak about anything with the game but I don’t want to get involved in that,” Kolisi commented.
“I didn’t feel I had the same access to the referee and there’s proof if you watch the game again, you will definitely be able to see for yourself.
“I don’t want to speak too much about that. It has already happened, there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s not going to change anything. Our focus is on the next game.”
Attention firmly on officials ahead of second test.
While the Springboks must win today to keep the series alive, the majority of conversation ahead of the second test has been focused on the officials’ performance in the first test, and not the significance of the match itself.
Erasmus’ hour-long video is highly unusual for a staff member of a national team’s set-up, which the South Africa director of rugby acknowledged himself, as he said he would step away from the Springboks if World Rugby deemed it necessary.
World Rugby have taken note of Erasmus’ comments, and said they would raise the “nature” of them with the South Africa Rugby Union through the official channels.