Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus has accused the British & Irish Lions of tarnishing the integrity of rugby as a game. Erasmus made the remark in response to unhappiness voiced by the British & Irish Lions following South African Marius Jonker being appointed TMO ahead of the weekend’s game. The South African coach added that he would never have stooped to the level of making any sort of remark about both coach Warren Gatland and referee Ben O’Keeffe being New Zealanders.
Erasmus made his unhappiness known during a recent press conference, while also pointing out that he’s in fact not the person behind the controversial Twitter account and alias “Jaco Johan”.
British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has in the meantime made light of Erasmus’ near-outburst, while brushing aside the Springbok coach’s press conference performance as something of a “sideshow”. Gatland during the meet appeared intent on refusing to be sidetracked, while launching straight into an explanation of three changes he proposed to make to his side ahead of Saturday’s game. His strategy going forward involves including Conor Murray at scrum-half, Mako Vunipola at tight-head, and the bringing in of Chris Harris to the position of outside centre.
Erasmus did end up conceding that he too was surprised by World Rugby’s decision to appoint Jonker as TMO but was quick to add that it had been a strange experience to see his (Jonker’s) integrity questioned by the visiting side. He said he regarded Jonker a close friend – but one with irreproachable integrity.
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