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Nigel Owens In Disbelief At Rassie Erasmus Behaviour

Nigel Owens In Disbelief At Rassie Erasmus Behaviour
By Eoin Harrington
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Rassie Erasmus is at it again, airing grievances about match officials publicly on social media, and his antics have not impressed Nigel Owens.

Owens, the longest serving test referee of all time, spoke out about Erasmus' antics on the Telegraph's rugby podcast this week. He said that, because of the outrageous nature of Erasmus' behvaiour, he initially had doubts over whether the Twitter account in question could actually be his.

Rassie Erasmus: Nigel Owens cannot believe the antics of South Africa coach

Appearing on this week's Telegraph Rugby Podcast, Nigel Owens spoke on the challenges of officiating at the highest level in rugby - and, naturally, the conversation pivoted to Rassie Erasmus.

The South African director of rugby has once again been in the headlines during the Autumn Nations Series for his social media comments on match officials. His well-documented antics during last year's Lions tour earned him a lengthy ban from the game, but it has not deterred him from returning to his old ways during the November internationals.

Erasmus firstly took to Twitter to sarcastically question the referees in their opening defeat to Ireland in Dublin - comments which were slammed by Shane Horgan. He would then take it up another level with a series of rantings and ravings after their defeat in Marseille on Saturday.

5 November 2022; South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus before the Bank of Ireland Nations Series match between Ireland and South Africa at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

The concept of a coach such as Rassie Erasmus taking to social media to publicly slam the match officials, using video "evidence" to back up his points and sarcastically questioning their competence, is a ludicrous one - and one which Nigel Owens has no time for.

Speaking this week, Owens said he was surprised when he found out that the Twitter account was in fact Erasmus', saying that he could not fathom a top level coach behaving in such a manner:

I saw these come up and I was thinking ‘is this his genuine profile? Is he doing this? To me, we don’t need that in the game and I’d have thought he’d have learned his lesson by now, if it is him doing this.

Owens went on to lay out how such grievances should be dealt with. The former test referee said that issues should be dealt with alongside World Rugby and the officials in question - but that airing your laundry in public was never an option:

If you’re not happy about decisions, or you have questions about decisions – as every coach would have – referees can’t get everything right, there is a process to go through.

You send your timeline to the referee manager, which would be Joel Jutge at World Rugby, and they would look at that with the referee.

Once you start putting things out there on social media questioning decisions, that’s not what this game is about, I don’t think. I don’t think this it’s right and I don’t like it. Go through the proper channels, and as long as everyone is open and honest and transparent. That is the way forward, not on social media.

Owens was a sideline official for South Africa's 2019 World Cup final win over England, and retired as one of the most respected referees in test rugby's recent history.

If you have Nigel Owens slamming you on your treatment of match officials, you're probably doing something wrong.


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