Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick has accused the British & Irish Lions of starting the war of words.
Stick has accused the Lions of “destroying the dignity of the series” by starting the war of words that led to SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus’ 62-minute video criticizing referee Berry.
The Lions had raised objections ahead of the first test match over the appointment of South African TMO Marius Jonker after New Zealander Brendon Pickerill’s travel was disrupted by the coronavirus.
The tourists were fearful of Jonker’s ability to maintain neutrality and Stick has insisted that is where all the off-field problems started in this Lions series.
“Let’s go on the build-up where firstly the integrity of World Rugby was challenged by another human being when Marius Jonker was appointed TMO,” said Stick.
“And then Gatland on the other side went crazy, and was asking World Rugby and challenging them about the decision they had made.
“And everyone knows we are living during challenging times, living during Covid, and the other gentleman couldn’t travel to South Africa because of Covid protocols.
“And the fact that was publicly challenged by another coach on the other side, and still to this day I haven’t had any statement from that side apologising about it.
“And I haven’t had any statement from World Rugby either. We’re not asking for any favours, we just want equal grounds.
“I wouldn’t like the whole series to be about decisions taken by the officials, or about the coaches off the field.
“Even if things are being said in social media or a traditional media conference, it’s still the media. All coaches want to get their messages across.
“He (Erasmus) wanted to state his as his own personal view, it had nothing to do with us as a team.
“So if Rassie got into trouble because of what he said on social media, I think the gentleman that challenged the integrity of the game when the TMO was challenged, I think that is something that really destroyed the dignity of the series and also challenges the integrity of World Rugby.”