Fri 16 Jul 2021 | 08:44

VIDEO: Boks v B&I Lions war of words: Rassie strikes back

VIDEO: Boks v B&I Lions war of words: Rassie strikes back
Fri 16 Jul 2021 | 08:44
VIDEO: Boks v B&I Lions war of words: Rassie strikes back
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REACTION: British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland fired the first verbal salvo, but South Africa’s Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus fired back with a more sardonic obiter dictum.

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The two traded barbs just over a week out from the first Test between the Springboks and the B&I Lions at the Cape Town Stadium, on July 24.

Gatland, speaking to the media ahead of their final match before the Tests, used his public platform to take potshots at Erasmus and the Bok players.

He took exception to an incident in the midweek game, when star scrumhalf Francois de Klerk was issued with a yellow card for a dangerous tackle.

He said he was somewhat puzzled by the suggestion from the South African match officials – referees Jaco Peyper and TMO Marius Jonker – that De Klerk did not make contact with an opponent’s head.

“Someone was watching a different picture than what I was,” the often brusque coach told an online media briefing.

“It looked reckless to me,” he said, adding: “[There was] no arms. He hit the arm first, then the shoulder. There was definitely head on head contact.

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“We have a meeting with the referees just to get more clarity.

“What we want is clarity, so we get complete consistency.”

However, Erasmus was having none of that and took to social media to point out that Gatland should look at his own players before trying to comment on the opposition.

The gist of the SA Director of Rugby’s message was: ‘Those who stay in glass houses …’

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Erasmus suggested that when Gatland chats to match officials, may he should also ask about other incidents in the midweek match – won 17-13 by the SA ‘A’ team.

“While you at it, please get clarity on this also!!” he said, adding a clip of what appears to be a shoulder charge to the head of a Springbok carrying the ball into a tackle.

“We have to be 100 percent sure and aligned! Can’t agree more,” the SA Rugby boss added.

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He followed that up with a second clip and an equally acerbic comment.

“If there is time, maybe also get absolute clarity and alignment on this one please,” he captions a clip where the Bok scrumhalf, De Klerk is grabbed around the neck and flung to the ground after the whistle had gone.

“I know it’s way after the whistle, but let us just align and get clarity to be sure.”

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Both teams – South Africa and the B&I Lions will have their final warm-up matches in a double-header at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday – SA ‘A’ in a ‘curtain raiser’ against the Bulls, while the B&I Lions face the Stormers in the main fixture.

There may be some courteous exchanges between the two camps, but the war of words could get very interesting as we continue to build towards next week’s opening Test at the same venue.

@king365ed
@rugby365com

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VIDEO: Boks v B&I Lions war of words: Rassie strikes back | Rugby365