Rugby Australia, led by former Springbok team manager Andy Marinos, have come out in support of referee Nic Berry following the hour long video and other clips that Rassie Erasmus put out in the media this week.
Erasmus used 26 clips in an hour-long video critique of the match officials’ performance in Saturday’s match, which the Lions won 22-17, accusing Australian Berry of not showing Bok captain Siya Kolisi the same respect as his Lions counterpart Alun Wyn Jones.
They released the following statement:
Rugby Australia has noted with dismay and concern the recent public commentary by South African Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus, regarding Australian referee Nic Berry and other match officials.
There is no place for abuse of match officials in Australian Rugby, with Rugby Australia committed to promoting a fair, safe and inclusive Rugby experience for all participants, officials and fans.
Rugby Australia believes the recent actions are unacceptable and against the spirit and values of the game.
Rugby Australia Chief Executive Andy Marinos said: “Match officials form the very fabric of our game – simply, the game would not exist without them. As a highly regarded and respected international referee appointed by World Rugby, the attack on Nic’s integrity, character and reputation is unacceptable.
“We have been in contact with World Rugby, under whose auspices this Test Series sit, and understand that they are actively reviewing this matter as some facts presented were not accurate.
“It is important to ensure public attacks of this nature are not tolerated. We will continue to provide support to Nic at this time, as both his physical and mental wellbeing remains a priority for us,” Marinos said.
Erasmus says that he made the video public because of the lack of response from Berry and his officials, therefore messing with team selection.
The Springboks and the British and Irish Lions meet again in Cape Town on Saturday, with the series on the line after the Lions won the first Test.
The match will be refereed by New Zealander Ben O’Keeffe, with Berry and Frenchman Mathieu Raynal as assistants. Raynal will take charge of the third and final Test on August 7.