Fri 23 Jul 2021 | 11:03

VIDEO: B&I Lions cry foul over TMO change

VIDEO: B&I Lions cry foul over TMO change
Fri 23 Jul 2021 | 11:03
VIDEO: B&I Lions cry foul over TMO change

REACTION: The British and Irish Lions coaching staff spat the dummy over a late change to the match officials for the three-match series.


South Africa’s Marius Jonker has been handed the Television Match Official duties, after New Zealand’s Brendon Pickerill was forced to withdraw.

Pickerill could not travel to South Africa due to pandemic-related issues, with Jonker the TMO in all three Tests at the Cape Town Stadium – July 24 and 31, as well as August 7.

B&I Lions players and officials have been vocal over their dislike for Jonker, after his performance as TMO for their only loss on tour – when they went down 13-17 to South Africa ‘A’ in Cape Town last Wednesday.

Coach Warren Gatland and other management staff were particularly incensed over an incident involving Springbok scrumhalf Francois de Klerk – who avoided being red-carded for a tackle on Lions flank Josh Navidi.

In the immediate aftermath and subsequent media briefings, Gatland suggested the match officials were watching a different picture to him.

Gatland said he was puzzled by the suggestion from the South African match officials – referee 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.

The British media went into full meltdown mode, with numerous reports claiming that Gatland was ‘furious’ over Jonker’s appointment.

The matter was again raised on Friday – at a B&I Lions pre-match media briefing – with the forwards coach Robin McBryde being bombarded by questions about Jonker’s appointment.

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“It was a bit unexpected,” McBryde said, adding: “We only found out about it on Wednesday.

“It is a slight lack of foresight [with regards to having alternatives].

“There is a reason why that position is neutral.

“There was no Plan B put in place,” he said, adding that they just have to “get on with it”.

McBryde confirmed that they had their traditional pre-match meeting with match officials – without confirming whether Jonker was part of that meeting.

“We went through everything that has happened up to date,” the B&I Lions forward coach said, adding: “They were reluctant to pass any sort of opinion either way.

“They are confident in the communications they will have at the weekend – that they will be able to come to the right decision.

“The role of the TMO … his say is pretty final. It is a very important position.

“I am sure there will be no issues on the weekend.”

He said they expected there to be a ‘clean slate’ and issues from earlier in the tour won’t be carried over.

McBryde said they had a good discussion about things that have happened and expect “consistency” from the match officials.

“The impression I got is that they wanted to move on and trust in their own decisions.”

SA v B&I Lions match officials revised

Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town

Saturday, July 24
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Mathieu Raynal (France)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Saturday, July 31
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nic Berry (Australia),Mathieu Raynal (France)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Saturday, August 7
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Nic Berry (Australia)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)


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PV: 13