Sun, 26 Sep 2021

Bok legend Habana defends Rassie's Twitter activity

News24
29 Jul 2021, 17:43 GMT+10

Legendary former Springbok wing Bryan Habana defended SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus' use of social media in ongoing British & Irish Lions series.

The build-up to last week's first Test was dominated by visiting coach Warren Gatland's being upset that local official Marius Jonker was appointed as television match official (TMO) for the series. This followed the withdrawal of New Zealander Brendon Pickerill due to travel issues caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jonker and Australian referee Nic Berry made a few contentious calls in the first Test, which was won 22-17 by the Lions.

In the aftermath of the Bok defeat, Erasmus took to Twitter to highlight some of the issues through video clips.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Habana questioned why Gatland was largely praised for his comments and Erasmus copped flak.

"We're easy to judge in terms of things which are potentially uncommon to us as rugby fans," Habana said.

"Gatland has a big hoorah in the media about a South African TMO and everyone finds that OK. Rassie voices his opinion where he can voice it, which is social media, and he's got a few thousand on his lips.

"I don't think it's a mental thing or mind games. Rassie is extremely astute in terms of his rugby knowledge and you don't want it to get dragged out into the public and look like a raucous.

"But if Gatland can potentially moan about a TMO, and then Rassie moans about that, is it not subjective opinion?

"Rassie felt Twitter was his platform that he needed to voice something on, and when he did it last week it was seen as a joke, but all of a sudden he does it this week and it's seen as cynical, which is difficult.

"I don't mind it. I think it adds entertainment to the game. How he does it and how it's interpreted depends on what colour lenses you're watching it from."

READ | Rassie responds to questionable calls: 'Sometimes they go for you, other times they don't'

Saturday's second Test at Cape Town Stadium kicks off at 18:00.

Teams:

South Africa

15 Willie Le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff

Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Damian Willemse

British and Irish Lions:

15 Stuart Hogg (Scotland), 14 Anthony Watson (England), 13 Chris Harris (Scotland), 12 Robbie Henshaw (Ireland), 11 Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland), 10 Dan Biggar (Wales), 9 Conor Murray (Ireland) 8 Jack Conan (Ireland), 7 Tom Curry (England), 6 Courtney Lawes (England), 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain, Wales), 4 Maro Itoje (England), 3 Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie (England), 1 Mako Vunipola (England)

Substitutes: 16 Ken Owens (Wales), 17 Rory Sutherland (Scotland) 18 Kyle Sinckler (England), 19 Tadhg Beirne (Ireland), 20 Taulupe Faletau (Wales), 21 Ali Price (Scotland), 22 Owen Farrell (England), 23 Elliot Daly (England)

Source: News24

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