Cape Town – Where have you heard that the TMO’s communication channel with the on-field referee is not working? Conveniently, when France are scoring a match-winning try against the Springboks.
How is a perfectly good pass from Willie le Roux to Damian Willemse deemed forward, with the Boks chasing a victory in the 77th minute?
In the very first minute of the game, why did the officials not decide to review French fullback Thomas Ramos’ charge against Cheslin Kolbe, where the No 15 seemed to have used his elbow to make contact with the Bok No 14’s throat?
These are just some of the errors made by English referee Wayne Barnes and the rest of his team in Marseille on Saturday, so you could hardly blame Rassie Erasmus for posting videos on Twitter highlighting these incidents.
The Bok Director of Rugby is wary of copping another World Rugby ban, so he has cleverly couched all his unhappiness in the name of trying to help the players avoid making these supposed mistakes, as he has not directly criticised Barnes or anyone else over the last few weeks.
Some rugby experts and fans feel the former loose forward is going too far, as it may encourage the match officials to get back at Erasmus by blowing up the Boks on the pitch.
Guys please free to block or mute me, its really not a problem and better for our health!! Sorry if any of the tweets were offending you!! Also of you dont agree with my tweets please ignore them&dont use for click bate man, use your own tweets and stuff dont be a parasite Lekka
— Rassie Erasmus (@RassieRugby) November 14, 2022
But the man himself said from Genoa yesterday, ahead of Saturday’s Test against Italy: “If someone doesn’t want to see that, unfollow me, mute me. But surely there are South African supporters who would like to know where we are going, and where we are getting it right and wrong.
“It’s not having a go at the referee. I don’t think Wayne Barnes would ever make bad decisions. He is the No 1 referee in the world, the most experienced referee in the world.
“It’s obviously something on our side that we have to fix. If people put their own narrative to it, I can’t control that.”
Of course, World Rugby do have their processes in place to review the performances of match officials after every Test, but where has that really taken the sport?
Erasmus was banned for his infamous 62-minute Nic Berry video from last year’s first Test between the Boks and the British & Irish Lions. Yet, the world champions are still getting a raw deal on the field more than a year later.
The saying goes that it is no use crying over spilt milk, but surely the blatant errors against the Boks in Marseille can be avoided. A quick check with the TMO would have solved many of the issues on the night, with the late French try something that should have been consulted on as well – even if via a cellphone call between Barnes and Irish TMO Brian MacNeice.
So, Erasmus is right to point out these blunders. At least the whole world is talking about it, and the spotlight is now on the match officials …