Warren Gatland: Faf de Klerk should have seen red for high challenge

Warren Gatland insists scrum-half Faf de Klerk should have seen red for high challenge in South Africa A’s victory over the Lions… and hits out at Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus’ ‘waterboy’ role on Wednesday

  • Faf de Klerk was sin binned during South Africa A’s 17-13 win over the Lions 
  • The South African scrum-half made a high challenge in the first-half of the game 
  • Lions coach Warren Gatland believes De Klerk should have been sent off
  • Gatland also disapproved of Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus’ waterboy role

Warren Gatland thinks Faf de Klerk should have been sent off against the Lions on Wednesday – and joked about counterpart Rassie Erasmus carrying water for the South Africans.

Scrum-half de Klerk was sin-binned for South Africa ‘A’ for a high hit in defence as the Lions pounded the line in the first half of the tour game.

And Gatland was convinced it was a ‘reckless’ act worthy of a red card, sending a message to the referees.

Warren Gatland claims Faf de Klerk should have had a red card for his first-half challenge

De Klerk made a high challenge and received a sin bin, which Gatland called reckless

‘I can’t understand where the comments were that there was no contact to the head,’ he said, relaying the conversation between South African referee Jaco Peyper and TMO Marius Jonker.

‘Someone was watching a different picture to me. I thought it looked reckless to me.

‘No arms and he’s hit the arm first and then the shoulder, but there’s definitely head on head contact. We’ve got a meeting with the referees tomorrow just to get a bit of clarity on that.

‘What we want is clarity so that we get complete consistency.’ During the game South African director of rugby Rassie Erasmus wore a water-carrier’s bib and ran onto the field several times to relay messages to his side.

The Lions coach called for consistency in the game and spoke to referee Jaco Peype

It is a tactic that the Springboks employed at the 2019 World Cup with their then defence coach, now head coach, Jacques Nienaber.

And while talking with tongue in cheek Gatland does not think Erasmus should be coaching his team in this way.

‘Last night he was the water boy running on the pitch – if you’re the water boy running onto the pitch you’ve got make sure you’re carrying water!’ added Gatland, chuckling.

‘I didn’t understand what his role was – you don’t run onto the pitch giving messages as the waterboy without carrying water.

Gatland did not like South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus being a water boy 

‘My advice to him is to make sure he’s carrying water next time he does that.’ Erasmus suggested earlier in the week that the Lions should not be ‘scared’ to play the South Africa ‘A’ team again this Saturday.

The tourists rejected that proposal and will face the Stormers, not keen to give the Boks any more preparation than they need after the hosts had to isolate for a week and saw their Georgia Test cancelled.

‘I think he was trying to wind us up saying we’re scared. Sometimes he’s capable of doing that,’ said Gatland.

‘We’re pretty excited. It’s a physical game – we’re pretty pumped for next week. We’ve got to start well, and we know what’s coming. I think they’ll have some pretty bodies today. We went in there, and showed some things. 

Gatland praised the Lions maul defence and their scrummaging during Wednesday’s tie

‘Our maul defence was good, we scrummaged exceptionally well and some of our pick-and-go stuff they probably weren’t expecting. It gave us the opportunity to work on those sorts of things.

‘From an attacking perspective we probably weren’t as clinical as we will be. There were opportunities we left behind but that will give us some things to work on for the weekend and next week.

‘I thought we looked strong and fit in the second half. That’s a positive for us. The guys were pretty bullish in the changing rooms afterwards – thinking we can win this series.’

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