Townsend: Rugby must do MORE to protect referees after Erasmus tirade

Rugby must do MORE to protect referees and stamp out intimidation, insists Gregor Townsend, who welcomes the decision to hand South Africa chief Rassie Erasmus a two-month ban for his tirade on officials

  • Lions coach Gregor Townsend insists more must be done to protect referees
  • It comes after Rassie Erasmus was handed a two-month ban by World Rugby 
  • He had hit out at refereeing displays during the Lions tour in a YouTube clip  
  • Townsend insists it was a ‘really bad episode’ for rugby and more must be done

Lions coach Gregor Townsend has welcomed the damning verdict against Rassie Erasmus and believes rugby must now do more to stamp out intimidation.

Townsend was Warren Gatland’s assistant during the summer tour of South Africa, when Erasmus recorded a scathing one-hour critique of referee Nic Berry.

Now back in his role with Scotland, Townsend wants to see a crackdown on coaches playing the Erasmus-style waterboy role.

Lions coach Gregor Townsend insists more must be done to protect referees after South Africa chief Rassie Erasmus had hit out at refereeing displays during the Lions tour in a YouTube clip

‘That was a really bad episode for our game,’ said Townsend.

‘I have since spoken to Nic Berry about it and he went through a really tough time and so did his family. 

‘We can’t fall into that trap of winning at all costs and putting pressure on individuals.

‘We got to the decision that was announced, but for me this is the tip of the iceberg. 

The Springboks chief had six charges of misconduct upheld against him after he hit out at referees during the Lions tour this summer

Erasmus also used Twitter to criticise the Lions for their ‘reckless and dangerous’ play

‘We’ve seen a lot of incidents where people on the sidelines are trying to intimidate players and officials. It’s got to stop.

‘I would urge World Rugby to make further changes. Why do we need coaches on the sidelines? 

‘If they are on the sidelines they have to live up to certain behaviours and values that we pride in our game, which sadly I felt over the summer and since then have been lost.’




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