Rassie Erasmus

Rassie Erasmus has urged South Africa’s unions to quit contracting “weak” players who don’t have a future in the professional ranks. Photo: Archives

Jones rates Rassie video: 9/10 for accuracy, zero for respect

Eddie Jones has said Rassie Erasmus has shown we ‘can’t afford to act like that’ after the backlash related to his referee video.

Rassie Erasmus

Rassie Erasmus has urged South Africa’s unions to quit contracting “weak” players who don’t have a future in the professional ranks. Photo: Archives

SA Rugby and its Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus recently withdrew their notices of appeal against the misconduct decision handed down by World Rugby in relation to the controversial officiating video he made after the first British & Irish Lions Test.

Mitigating the emotional strain on his family is reported to be just one of the reasons Rassie Erasmus opted to withdraw the appeal against his ban.

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Eddie Jones is the latest high-profile coach to weigh in on the matter, suggesting on The Good, The Bad & The Rugby podcast that Erasmus had made a largely accurate video, but that it was not in the spirit of the game.

“For accuracy, it’s probably nine out of 10 but for respect probably zero out of 10,” said Jones with his typical style of straight-talking humour.

“We’ve seen Rassie do it, we’ve seen Dave Rennie explode. We’ve got a problem with the referee, and every coach feels like that at some stage. We (England) had that game against Wales in the Six Nations where there were two tries that weren’t tries.

“But we can’t afford to act like that because it’s just going to make it worse. What I think we need to do is simplify how we use technology, give the referee respect and be really hard on coaches who criticise the referee.”

As Jones also wrote in his book Leadership, he suggested making a Rassie Erasmus-style video after England’s Six Nations defeat by Wales would just have done longer-term damage to the sport.

“I could have made a long video of complaint like Rassie Erasmus did,” Jones wrote. “In terms of leadership all international coaches could emulate Rassie’s stunt, but would that benefit the game? We would put more pressure on the officials and, as we saw, the refereeing got worse as the Lions series went on, to the benefit of South Africa.

“Rassie might feel his tactics were justified but you need to take a wider view for the sake of rugby. If I had gone down the Rassie Erasmus route we would have got so much more leeway from referees in the next couple of games because they would have felt under extreme pressure. But that’s not how I want the game to be run.”

Other reasons why Rassie withdrew appeal

Other factors are that Erasmus did not have to apologise personally to referee Nic Berry, who was at the centre of the officiating controversy following the first Test against the British & Irish Lions.

Erasmus’ two-month ban from all rugby also coincides with SA Rugby closing their offices for the festive season, while the Erasmus camp would have had no control over who World Rugby appointed as their appeal committee.

Ultimately, SA Rugby will take it as a win that they were able to get World Rugby’s far more severe recommendation of a 24-Test ban cut in half, and Erasmus will now concede to serving out the double ban.

After seeing out the two-month suspension, Erasmus will only be banned from all match-day activities until 30 September 2022, but can contribute in all the build-up plans and preparation.

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