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VIDEO EVIDENCE: It wasn't direct head-to-head

REACTION: South Africa’s Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus has come out in defence of veteran centre Jesse Kriel, in the wake of the fall-out in the United Kingdom media over a reported head clash.


The Springbok centre, Kriel, avoided being carded – despite seemingly making contact with the head of Scotland No.8 Jack Dempsey during a tackle in South Africa’s 18-3 win in Marseille this past Sunday.

It has been likened to the incident which led to Tom Curry being shown a red card in England’s victory over Argentina in an earlier match this past weekend.

It caused a massive outcry – both in the mainstream and social media, with questions about consistency.

The subject was raised during the Scottish post-match media briefing at Stade VĂ©lodrome.

“It looked like a head-on-head collision,” Scotland coach Gregor Townsend said during an official media debrief.

“I was expecting the TMO to come in,” he added.


However, Erasmus has a different view.

(Watch the Jesse Kriel tackle … article continues below)

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“We are really comfortable [with the tackle],” he said of the incident barely two minutes into the match.

“There has not been a citing yet,” Erasmus said on Monday morning, adding: “I am pretty sure there won’t be a citing.

“Not that I have to educate you on this, but we all know that if it isn’t direct head contact – which it wasn’t, because he made contact on the ball and then moved up after he tackled on the ball – then it is not an issue.”


Erasmus pointed out that much of the brouhaha surrounding the incident is accompanied b still pictures showing Kriel’s head in contact with that of Dempsey.

“You can make that look really bad,” he said of the still images.

“If you take it a millisecond or a second or two back, you’ll see that he clearly tackled on the ball.

“So we’re very happy with how it was refereed?

“There were close calls on either side.

“I think the Finn Russell call [for a body check] was much closer.

“Unfortunately he [Russel] got injured then I think that deflected a little bit from the action that he did.”

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Obviously, the Scotland coach saw it all very differently.

“There are still inconsistencies,” the former Scotland and British and Irish Lions flyhalf said, without wishing to further comment.

“I’m frustrated by that but more frustrated by our own performance.”


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