Gatland: ‘I won't be going on social media this week'
REACTION: British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland said he won’t be commenting on refereeing decisions after his team’s defeat to the Springboks in the second Test on Saturday.
South Africa scored 21 unanswered second-half points to beat the B&I Lions 27-9 and level the series ahead of next weekend’s final Test.
The dominance of the Springboks after half-time yielded tries from wing Makazole Mapimpi and centre Lukhanyo Am and the tourists finished a well-beaten team before next Saturday’s series decider, also in Cape Town.
Flyhalf Handre Pollard scored the rest of the home team’s points from a conversion and five penalties while rival playmaker Dan Biggar slotted three penalties for the Lions.
The week leading to the second Test has been very eventful, with most of the media headlines dominated by off-field spats.
SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus took centre stage with his criticism of match officials in an hour-long video.
Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick also accused Gatland of “destroying the dignity of the series” after it was reported by various media outlets before the first Test that Gatland felt Marius Jonker – a South African – should not have been TMO.
“I just thought it [Erasmus’ video] was pretty interesting. There has been enough said about that,” said Gatland.
“I won’t be going on social media this week. I don’t really want to comment on that because I want other people to take care of that.
“The last thing we need is a war of words and being accused of doing certain things.
“It is amazing to me how the narrative changed regarding the TMO.
“I didn’t make one comment leading up to the game last week on the TMO, yet I was accused of questioning his integrity.
“That was the messages they were giving out, so we will just keep things to ourselves and go through the proper channels when we deal with the referee and then hopefully get some feedback from him.”
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) July 31, 2021
One issue that Gatland will raise with officials will be about Springbok wing Cheslin Kolbe.
Kolbe was shown a controversial yellow card after taking out Lions scrumhalf Conor Murray in the air.
Some pundits believe Kolbe should have been shown a red card for the incident.
“We will have our meeting with the referee this week and see what the assessors come back with in terms of their decision and find out what it was,” Gatland added.
“It didn’t look great from where I was, but he [referee Ben O’Keeffe] decided it was a yellow card.”