Springboks: Victor Matfield urges SA Rugby to take a stance on Rassie Erasmus saga

Colin Newboult

Legendary South Africa lock Victor Matfield insists that SA Rugby are harming themselves by not saying anything in the wake of Rassie Erasmus’ latest antics.

The director of rugby was handed a two-week ban by World Rugby for social media posts which appeared to question the decision-making of the referees during the Springboks’ defeats to France and Ireland.

That came over a year after Erasmus was suspended from all rugby activities for two months and then given a further 10-month ban following an hour-long video which picked apart the performance of match official Nic Berry in the first Lions Test.

The South African governing body have decided against making an official statement but Matfield believes that not taking a stance isn’t helping the situation.

The face of SA Rugby

“We’re in a position where he is our director of rugby and he is the face of SA Rugby. He has been tapped on the fingers twice from World Rugby and SA Rugby is saying nothing,” he told News24.

“Either SA Rugby must stand with him and say that they’ll back him 100 percent or someone from SA Rugby needs to talk to [him] and make him stop what he is doing.

“SA Rugby has to decide what they need to do, but it’s not looking good in the world for SA Rugby and it doesn’t help with the referees, we’ll probably get worse decisions every week.”

Despite South Africa’s recent off-field controversies, which includes an alleged affair between fly-half Elton Jantjies and team dietician Zeenat Simjee, it does not appear to have affected their on-field performances.

Although they succumbed to Ireland and France, they were competitive in both matches and were unfortunate to go into their clash with Italy without a win.

Impressive response

Evidently frustrated by those losses, the Springboks responded superbly and were excellent in the 63-21 triumph over the Azzurri.

It was a step forward for the Boks, who have been criticised for their lack of attacking prowess since winning the World Cup in 2019.

Matfield therefore hopes that the minds of the players and coaches stays on the field.

“My thoughts are that it should always be about rugby. Yes, we want to see our Springbok players in the masses, but they need to perform. As long as they perform on the field, we can’t say anything and I think that’s something we need to focus on,” he added.

“Normally, you need a good culture off the field to help mirror it on the field. But that’s something they need to prioritise and focus on.”

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