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Rassie Erasmus Explains Why Modern Rugby Is 'Impossible' To Referee

Rassie Erasmus Explains Why Modern Rugby Is 'Impossible' To Referee
By Colman Stanley
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South Africa’s Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus has given an open and revealing hours long interview with the Daily Mail, covering numerous topics such as South Africa joining the Six Nations and his controversial refereeing video from 2021.

Whether you like his controversial nature or not, the ex-Munster DOR is always entertaining with his opinions, and provides interesting takes on some of the games’ most talked about topics.

Rassie Erasmus On Laws And Refereeing

The subject of refereeing in the modern game was touched upon, and Erasmus was critical of the amount of laws a referee is meant to take into account during a game.

‘There’s too much microscopic stuff in the game now,” he states. “We worked out that a referee needs to make between 800 and 850 decisions in one match. It’s impossible, man. It leaves the referee open to criticism — I would know! — and that’s not fair.

'There are too many grey areas to let the game flow. You are always going to get one team that’s p***** off, whether they say it publicly or not. Did you know there are 58 things you can be punished for at a scrum and 38 in a lineout?'

It’s a reasonable - if slightly mischievous - take from Erasmus, and it is a part of the game that is often scrutinised by pundits, as we saw after Ireland’s Six Nations encounter with Italy.

Following the referee’s implementation of the controversial law that sent Italy down to 13 players, the game was called into question. One of the main points that was made was that these rules are a deterrent to potentially new fans.


Erasmus’ point is similar. When there are so many rules, it takes enjoyment away from the sport, and hinders the flow of a game.

With the amount of rules in rugby, it is also inevitable that referees will make errors, and thus be thrown into the spotlight and into the firing line of criticism.

We saw this after the Ireland vs Wales match, when fans and pundits alike questioned the referee's view of the scrum and in particular the scrummaging of Andrew Porter.


The officials were also criticised after the Ireland vs Italy as it appeared that Ryan Baird also should have been red carded for shoulder to head contact.

While some of the problems in rugby surrounding laws and referees will need serious looking into and deliberation, Erasmus believes that in some cases the changes are obvious.

'There are simple solutions but we need to be open-minded. World Rugby need to take control and simplify it,' he stated.


However, when asked whether he might consider a role with World Rugby where he could help put these solutions into effect, he was less than enthusiastic saying,'But me with World Rugby? Come on! I’ll leave that job to the younger guys like Joe (Schmidt)!'

While he may not be leaving South Africa to take a role with World Rugby, he was more open to the possibility of coaching England at some point in the future.

'I don’t think the English people would ever want me there now. Maybe I am wrong. I hope I am wrong. Would I coach another country? If my own people were cool with it and the other country’s people were cool with it then why not?


'But if my own people are going to hate me for it, then I would never do it. I hate the fact that so many people hate me in rugby right now. I’m not a confrontational guy. I like to get on with people.

‘South Africa has my heart but coaching England would be amazing because I think they can win.'

See Also: Rassie Erasmus Admits He Would Be In Favour Of South Africa Joining The Six Nations


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