British & Irish Lions assistant coach Steve Tandy believes if South Africa’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has any complaints about rough play from the tourists, he should direct them through the appropriate channels and not social media.
Erasmus has retweeted a video from Saturday’s first Test which he says shows Springbok winger Cheslin Kolbe being taken out in the air, landing on his back and being forcefully lifted to his feet by Lions prop Mako Vunipola before medical personnel could attend to him.
He called Vunipola’s actions “reckless and dangerous”.
“Cheslin is obviously played in the air and clearly not direct into touch.
More importantly for youngsters watching this clip, please never move or touch an injured player on the ground, its reckless and dangerous! Leave this to the (medics),” Erasmus said in his tweet.
Erasmus, who coached the Boks to the Rugby World Cup title in 2019, last week also tweeted videos showing what he claimed was foul play from the Lions.
“It is his viewpoint, we thought the officials did a good job at the weekend, and if there is anything we need to bring up we will go through the appropriate channels,” Tandy said yesterday.
“We just have to worry about we do and do our talking on the field. Rassie’s comments are his own, we are just focusing on what we need to tidy up to make sure we are nice and clean about how we go about things.”
Tandy says there is a danger that if every piece of potential foul play is analysed by the TMO, games would go on too long.
“We don’t want the games going on forever, it is the major calls you want to get right and spend the appropriate time on them. But the little bits for the officials there are so many things going on in a game,” he said.
“As a team it is about microanalysing the match (afterwards), we do that ourselves. But it is then about raising the ones (foul play) that are relevant through the appropriate channels.”
Meanwhile, the Lions received a fitness boost with the news that flyhalf Finn Russell resumed training yesterday and could be in contention for this weekend’s second Test against South Africa.
Scottish No 10 Russell has been sidelined for several weeks with an Achilles problem and missed the 22-17 first Test victory over the World Champion Springboks on Saturday. His return could be timely with the starting flyhalf in the first test, Dan Biggar, having suffered a concussion, though Tandy said the Welshman is on course to be available, too.
“Dan is going through return-toplay protocols, he was good in the change room afterwards and is just starting to do those (protocols) now. All being well, he will be available to train again on Thursday,” Tandy told reporters yesterday.
“Finn will start training with us today, so he could be in the mix for Saturday, but we (the coaches) will discuss all that this evening.”
Tandy also said prop Wyn Jones, who was forced to withdraw from the opening Test in the three-game series due to a shoulder injury, remained a doubt for the second game at the Cape Town Stadium.