Rassie video 'just a sideshow' says B&I Lions coach
REACTION: British and Irish Lions forwards coach Robin McBryde says Rassie Erasmus’ hour-long video rant was just a “sideshow” ahead of the second Test against the Springboks on Saturday.
In the video, which dominated headlines around the world on Thursday, Erasmus launched an unprecedented attack on Australian referee Nic Berry and his assistants.
Watch the video below
Erasmus’ extraordinary monologue lasts 62 minutes and includes 26 clips from his team’s 17-22 first Test defeat by the Lions at Cape Town Stadium, with Berry’s performance repeatedly in the crosshairs.
Berry and the other three officials will also handle the second Test in Cape Town on Saturday.
New Zealand’s Ben O’Keeffe will take over from Berry with the whistle while Berry and Mathieu Raynal of France will be the assistant referees.
“We had a good meeting with referees yesterday [Thursday],” McBryde told reporters during an online media briefing on Friday.
“Ben O’Keefe said he is aware that there is a lot of stuff out there on social media and it is not going to affect anything.
“That is just a sideshow, to be honest with you.
“We had a positive discussion with the referees and we realise they are in a tough place.
“They got a tough job to do, but we were really happy with Nic Berry last Saturday and I don’t think it will be any different this weekend.”
When asked if Erasmus should be sanctioned, McBryde said: “That is up to World Rugby. It is not for me to comment on that.”
He added: “I read a book call Ja-Nee which gives you an insight from a South African perspective from the 1974 Lions tour.
“They lost the first Test and it’s a book by Dugald Macdonald, so that was enough of an insight from a South African point of view for me with regards to what this second Test means to them as a nation.
“They are a proud nation and they will be looking to come out all guns blazing, so that is what we are expecting and that is what we are preparing for. Anything else is not in my domain.”
‘Show respect to the officials’
McBryde believes a law that was trialled in the Rainbow Cup is contributing to the changing attitudes towards match officials
“In the Rainbow Cup when they were trialling laws you were able to challenge decisions on the field with the captain,” he said.
“In my own personal view it brought out a bad element in terms of scenes we don’t like to see – you are openly challenging decisions by the referee.
“It is not really my cup of tea. Traditionally, rugby has prided itself on being able to rise above that and show respect to the officials, like no backchat.
“From a really young age players are taught you can’t speak back to the referee, so hopefully that will continue.
“We had a very positive meeting with the three officials yesterday and I am just looking forward to the game on Saturday.”