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Springboks great John Smit calls for action to be taken against Rassie Erasmus

Rassie Erasmus

Springboks great John Smit believes Rassie Erasmus’ latest criticism of referees is making life difficult for his team.

Erasmus, South Africa’s director of rugby, picked up a two-match ban from match-day activities due to videos he posted on Twitter which highlighted referee errors from his side’s recent losses against Ireland and France.

It isn’t the first time that Erasmus has publicly derided referees of course, as he published an hour-long video criticising Nic Berry after the first British and Irish Lions test last year, for which he received a 10-month ban from match-day activities.

The 50-year-old clearly didn’t learn his lesson, and former Springboks captain John Smit has called on SA Rugby to take action against Erasmus on the BBC Rugby Union Daily podcast.

John Smit on Rassie Erasmus.

“We’ve just seemed to have had a tumultuous, emotional roller coaster of a tour in terms of Rassie and the management and all sorts of crazy behaviour,” Smit said.

“The way he’s approached this is not right. The way I look at it is it’s almost like marriage. Any team is married to the ref. You have to make it work. You don’t have perfect days, but you have to make it work.

“Of course we want them to have the perfect game but it’s impossible. None of us have played the perfect game. Refereeing rugby is extremely difficult. There’s 100 things you can get wrong at a ruck alone.

“I do find it surprising that we’ve heard nothing from SA Rugby. I think he has got power because what he did in a short period of time in 2019 was quite phenomenal. There has to be a line that has to be drawn.

“He’s making it difficult for his team, he’s making it difficult for Siya [Kolisi], he’s making it difficult for us. It’s hard to defend him with that kind of behaviour.

“Are you telling me that Rassie’s the only coach that’s frustrated by a call that’s gone the wrong way? Something has to be done.”

The Springboks are under pressure.

Aside from Erasmus’ antics, South Africa are under pressure to avoid a third loss in four matches when they take on England at Twickenham Stadium this Saturday.

A convincing win against Italy at the weekend got the Springboks back on track, although they will know a far greater challenge awaits them in London.

Ireland and France have both notched wins against the Springboks this month, while South Africa A lost both games of their northern tour against Munster and Bristol Bears.

Losing against England would leave South Africa with very little to show for their tour, even if they did play well in their narrow losses to Ireland and France earlier this month.

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