Has Rassie’s ‘Kool-Aid’ gone stale?

The social media spat between the two camps head honchos: Warren Gatland and Rassie Erasmus was decisively won by Gats, which gives the Lions first blood in this unusual Lions Test series. Willie le Roux’s disallowed try and Hamish Watson’s unpunished yellow card tip-tackle engineered a 7+ point swing that ended up a bridge too […]

Has Rassie’s ‘Kool-Aid’ gone stale?

The social media spat between the two camps head honchos: Warren Gatland and Rassie Erasmus was decisively won by Gats, which gives the Lions first blood in this unusual Lions Test series.

Willie le Roux’s disallowed try and Hamish Watson’s unpunished yellow card tip-tackle engineered a 7+ point swing that ended up a bridge too far for the brave but decidedly undercooked Springboks.

The pressure Warren placed on the match officials by throwing his toys out the cot in a tantrum about the match officials worked a charm and was cleverly leveraged by the streetwise Wyn-Jones on the field which gave the Lions first blood in this enthralling chess-like series.

Round one to Gatland’s troops but kudos to Rassie and his men to take it on the chin without any excuses to congratulate the victors and slink off to lick their wounded egos and plot their revenge, which is very much in the pipeline.

After getting the rub of the green during most of the ’19 WC campaign; it seems the tide has started turning against Rassie’s charm offences and that his “Kool-Aid” has passed it sell by date. It is important however to remember that this is but the first act in a three-part drama unfolding on our screens.

What a fascinating match to watch as it ebb and flowed. The Lions’ unexpectedly disjointed opening stanza against a well oiled Bok machine circa ’19, just for the momentum to slowly swing as the undercooked Handré Pollard tried and missed two kicks to leave five additional points on the table, on top of the officials’ blunders.

As the game went on, his and Faf de Klerk’s pinpoint kicking game started fraying; causing a ripple of butter fingers and brain fades from the Boks that proved their ultimate undoing a rugby drama for the purists.

The Lions game plan finally started bearing fruit as the vaunted Bok “bomb squad” turned into a damp fizzle with their introduction suddenly giving the Lions pack the upper hand on the gain line to transfer the pressure onto the Boks.

This was typified by the highly active but totally unproductive Quagga Smith’s outing. How the Boks missed the steadying, assured ironman presence of Duane Vermeulen.

For the bomb squad concept to work, it has to fire on all cylinders. I personally think that the two years from the big stage have pushed Frans Malherbe way past his sell by date; from being ever present in the broken phases and on defence; he was nowhere to be seen on Saturday.

The back line bench was introduced into a losing cause but didn’t cover themselves in any glory; both the Jantjie’s folded under the pressure.

On the Lions side, I was impressed with the leadership and assured presence of Wyn-Jones and the effervescence of Ali Price at nine while Duhan Van der Merwe gave an assured display and Anthony Watson always threatened with ball in hand.

Maro Itoje and Courtney Lawes made hay because of the absence of Duane Vermeulen in the broken phases. Sadly the Elliot Daly experiment was an abject failure outside a rusty Robbie Henshaw, with changes surely coming for the second Test.

Elliot Daly is a surprise Lions selection for some. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

I’d bring back the assured Liam Williams at 15 and team Josh Adams with van der Merwe. I’d replace Dan Biggar, who was battered a bit, with Owen Farrell and bring Harris in for Daly.

Henshaw will be better after his first real outing in a while and Harris could provide the missing link to unleash Adams and van der Merwe.

In the forwards I’d start Owens and bring a bit more bulk in with Faletau for Conan; the Bok pack has been wounded so they will have to weather the coming storm…

On the Bok side; I’d drop Malherbe and Quagga Smith from the squad completely and start with Kitshoff. Francois Louw’s influence in securing late turnover ball is sorely missed and I’ll bring Marco van Staden onto the bench and lastly promote Jasper Wiese to start at eight for more go forward and solid defence.

At the back; I’ll introduce Reinach as a wild card game breaker from the bench and Frans Steyn’s assured presence to back up Pollard with Jessie Kriel to cover the outside back positions.

One thing is for sure; whichever way the two head Mandarins choose to spin act two of this three part drama; the physicality and intensity will be a ratcheted up from last week and it promises to be a titanic clash.

Fascinating stuff, this game of Test-playing chess, isn’t it?

Source : The Roar More   

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Erasmus’s extraordinary 62 minute video rant at Aussie ref Nic Berry stuns World Rugby

Rassie Erasmus has offered to stand down from South Africa’s series against the British and Irish Lions after posting online an hour-long video in which he launches an unprecedented attack on Australian referee Nic Berry. Erasmus’ extraordinary monologue lasts 62 minutes and includes 26 clips from Saturday’s 22-17 first Test defeat by the Lions at […]

Erasmus’s extraordinary 62 minute video rant at Aussie ref Nic Berry stuns World Rugby

Rassie Erasmus has offered to stand down from South Africa’s series against the British and Irish Lions after posting online an hour-long video in which he launches an unprecedented attack on Australian referee Nic Berry.

Erasmus’ extraordinary monologue lasts 62 minutes and includes 26 clips from Saturday’s 22-17 first Test defeat by the Lions at Cape Town Stadium, with Berry’s performance repeatedly in the crosshairs.

South Africa’s director of rugby is addressing World Rugby’s head of referees Joel Jutge and director of rugby Joe Schmidt during the video, in which he says he’s willing to quit for the second and third matches of the series.

GOT A SPARE 62 MINUTES? WATCH THE ERASMUS VIDEO HERE

World Rugby is understood to be concerned and disappointed by comments that pile pressure on the officials for Saturday’s second Test and is seeking an explanation from SA Rugby.

“World Rugby notes the comments made by Rassie Erasmus. The nature of these will be raised with the union via the usual official channels and no further comment will be made at this stage,” a statement from World Rugby read on Thursday.

The rant sees Erasmus, dressed in a Springbok training top and cap, provide detailed analysis of every decision he believes Berry got wrong.

The most sensitive of many criticisms is that the Aussie official treated South Africa captain Siya Kolisi and Alun Wyn Jones, the Lions skipper, differently.

“There is a vast difference between who he was taking seriously and who he wasn’t taking seriously,” Erasmus said.

“The way they listened to Siya compared to the way they listened to Alun Wyn was definitely not with the same respect. It shows the difference in attitude towards the Springboks and the Lions.”

Erasmus defends his own bizarre and controversial role as a water carrier, accuses the Lions’ illegal scrummaging of inflicting a neck injury to his prop Ox Nche and blasts Warren Gatland’s objection to Marius Jonker being appointed TMO.

Berry, who is replaced by Ben O’Keeffe for the second Test but will still run the touchline, is the real target as Erasmus highlights perceived inconsistencies and rails at the length of time it took to receive officiating feedback from World Rugby.

“We definitely felt that the way things unfolded on the field, didn’t benefit us by staying quiet,” said Erasmus, the mastermind of South Africa’s 2019 World Cup triumph.

“In my position as director of rugby, if this means I step away from being water carrier, that is fine.

“If this means I get a fine I will step away from the management team. If this means the Springboks will be in trouble I will say I did this in isolation.

“If you think this was going over the top and it shouldn’t go out to the media, I did this in a personal capacity and not as part of the Springboks.

“It is me personally that did this because I believe in fairness. I believe two teams must have equal chance of competing in a match.

“I am not saying the referee was a cheat at all. I am saying we just wanted clarity on a Sunday night which we have now got on a Tuesday.

“I am not very convinced with the clarity with what we got from Nic Berry in this match.

“Let the Springboks and the Lions have equal chance on the field when it comes to laws, respect and the way players get treated.”

Source : The Roar More   

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