Lions head coach Warren Gatland aims dig at Rassie Erasmus after Lions lose second Test

Lions head coach Warren Gatland aims dig at Rassie Erasmus as he insists ‘I won’t be taking to social media to express my views’ after some controversial calls during second Test defeat against South Africa

  • Warren Gatland took aim at Rassie Erasmus after his side fell to a 27-9 defeat
  • The Lions head coach seemingly mocked Erasmus’ rant released midweek
  • South Africa’s director of rugby criticised first Test referee Ben O’Keefe online
  • But Gatland said he would not make views public despite contentious decisions

Warren Gatland took a dig at South Africa‘s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus after the Lions fell to a 27-9 defeat in the second Test of the three-match series.

Erasmus hit the headlines in the build-up to the match after launching an hour-long rant at the officiating in the first Test, ensuring Ben O’Keeffe – who took charge this week – was under added scrutiny.

When asked if he had any issues with the officiating after the defeat, Gatland insisted he would not be following his South African counterpart’s lead. 

Warren Gatland aimed a dig at Rassie Erasmus after the Lions were defeated in the second Test

The Springbok director of rugby released an hour-long rant on the officiating in the first match

The Springbok director of rugby released an hour-long rant on the officiating in the first match

Gatland said: ‘We’ll go back and look at it and if there’s any issues we’ll go through the right channels. 

‘I won’t be taking to social media to express my views. We’ll spend the next couple of days doing the review and catch up with the referees at some point next week if there are any concerns we have.

‘The referees make calls, and we’ll get some thoughts from him when we have a chat in terms of what was his thought process for some of those decisions.’

It comes after Erasmus released a video in which he offered to withdraw from the Springbok’s coaching team as he voiced his dissatisfaction with the officiating in opening Test of the series.

Erasmus was back on the pitch during the second Test as he continued his water-carrying role

Erasmus was back on the pitch during the second Test as he continued his water-carrying role

He claimed Nic Berry, referee in the first Test, disrespected South African’s captain Siya Kolisi.

‘It’s comical, the way the respect of the assistant referees and the refs is different between the Lions and South Africa,’ said Erasmus.

‘When Siya spoke to the referee and when Alun Wyn spoke to the referee, I felt there was a vast difference between who he was taking serious and who he wasn’t taking serious.’

Later, referring to Berry — the Australian who took charge of the first Test — he added: ‘It’s almost as if he’s having a laugh at Siya.’

One of the decisions Gatland may seek clarification on this week after his side’s defeat is the yellow card shown to Cheslin Kolbe in the first half, which could easily have been a different colour.

Cheslin Kolbe was fortunate to stay on the pitch after taking out Conor Murray in the air

Cheslin Kolbe was fortunate to stay on the pitch after taking out Conor Murray in the air

The winger was shown a yellow card by Ben O'Keeffe but many felt it should have been a red

The winger was shown a yellow card by Ben O’Keeffe but many felt it should have been a red

The South African winger took out Conor Murray in the air and many, including former international referee Nigel Owens, believe Kolbe was fortunate not to have been shown a red card.

It came in an ill-tempered opening period, where Duhan van der Merwe had earlier been sent to the sin bin himself for a cynical trip on Kolbe. 

More controversy followed in the second half, when O’Keeffe controversially decided to award Lukhanyo Am’s try despite it being unclear whether there had been a controlled grounding.

With the series levelled at 1-1 ahead of next weekend’s decider, more mind games midweek seem inevitable as both camps pile pressure to try and gain an edge with the officials. 

Lukhanyo Am's try was awarded despite there being some contention over the grounding

Lukhanyo Am’s try was awarded despite there being some contention over the grounding

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