Erasmus had also dared World Rugby to punish him in the video even if his explanation that the video was being released in a personal capacity did not wash with World Rugby. “If this means we are going to get a fine, I will step away from the management team,” Erasmus said last week. “If this means the Springboks will be in trouble, I will say I did this in isolation.”
In their statement, World Rugby emphasised the need for match officials to be afforded respect in spite of the pressure of a Lions series.
“Match officials are the backbone of the sport, and without them there is no game,” World Rugby’s statement continued.
“World Rugby condemns any public criticism of their selection, performance or integrity which undermines their role, the well-established and trust-based coach-officials feedback process, and more importantly, the values that are at the heart of the sport.
“As with any test series, South Africa versus the British and Irish Lions is a showcase of rugby that generates great excitement and interest, even more so at this challenging time for sport and society. It is an opportunity for both teams and their management to set a positive example and concentrate on the spectacle and a wonderful example of rugby and its values at their best.”
Whatever the outside pressure on Erasmus, the Springboks are not going to change their style despite criticism from Ian Foster. The New Zealand head coach mischievously suggested the second Test, which South Africa won 27-9, was so turgid he fell asleep watching it with both teams adopting a low risk approach relying on their opponents making mistakes.
“I watched it between 10pm and 1am last night, it put me to sleep,” Foster said. “The Lions series, the one we had here, the one over there, it’s become very tight, almost risk-free type of series, aren’t they?”
“Teams are almost afraid to play, they are just relying on a low-risk strategy.
“So we are seeing two teams who desperately want to win a big series playing low-risk, highly-effective rugby. Both of them are good at the close contact stuff, the close quarter fighting, the kick and chase, and the pressure game. Two teams playing a similar style, it’s a bit of a slugfest.”