VIDEO: How Nigel Owens can end Rassie's referee rants
South Africa’s Director of Rugby Johan Erasmus admitted he has made ‘some errors’ in dealing with match officials in the past and that is one of the reasons behind the attempt to bring refereeing legend Nigel Owens on board.
Owen’s possible inclusion in the Springbok coaching panel ahead of the World Cup in France this year made headlines in recent weeks.
Erasmus revealed on Thursday that he had a “good chat” with the now-retired 51-year-old match official – who was in charge of 100 international matches during his distinguished career.
Owens also confirmed in recent media interviews that he has been in ‘conversation’ with Erasmus over the role.
Erasmus received a year-long stadium ban for his infamous hour-long video criticising referee Nic Berry’s performance in the first Test between the Springboks and the British and Irish Lions in 2021.
The SARU boss again made headlines again in November last year when he received a two-game ban for a string of Twitter posts focusing on refereeing decisions in their narrow defeats to Ireland and France.
“We need to restore the way we communicate with World Rugby,” the SARU boss said about his numerous fall-outs with the global controlling body and its match officials.
“We have tried different ways,” the 36-time capped Bok, Erasmus, told a media gathering in Stellenbosch on Thursday.
“I have made some errors there,” the 50-year-old DoR said about his bans in 2021 and 2022.
“There were some errors on both sides.
“The Springboks are much bigger than us having our disagreements,” he said about his rather public social media spats with World Rugby and the referees.
(Article continues below Erasmus interview …)
Erasmus said there were a “few other options” for the proposed position of refereeing coach.
However, Owens is the preferred candidate.
“At our first coaches planning session, we said: ‘Maybe we just don’t understand or have insights of how these guys [referees] see us and how we come across’.
“I had a good discussion with him,” Erasmus said of his engagement with Owens.
He explained his situation to me.
“I explained to him why, how and from when I think he can help us.”
Owens has some ‘personal issue’ to resolve, but the Bok should know in the ‘next week or two’ if Owens is on board.
The Director of Rugby said the proposal must still be approved by the relevant steering committees at SARU.