Nigel Owens reacts to Rassie Erasmus Online Rant

Rassie Erasmus, director of rugby for the Springboks, and his social media strategies are currently the subject of discussion with former referee Nigel Owens being the most prominent individual to weigh in.

On The Telegraph's Rugby Podcast, Owens, one of the game's most well-known referees, spoke on the recent events. He admitted that at first, he was stunned and feared there might be a phony profile.

He said:

“I saw these [videos] 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. There’s a procedure in place. 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. Then they would reply to the coach and say: ‘Yeah, this could have been penalised’ or ‘the referee is correct here’. Or, like a lot of things in rugby, it’s: ‘This is a grey one. This is what the referee feels and it’s his interpretation of it [but] it could well have gone the other way’. That’s the nature of the game.”

While some South African fans have sided with the Director of Rugby, alleging that this shows prejudice against them, others are growing weary of Erasmus' theatrics, which only happen when the Springboks lose.

The former Welsh international referee didn't think Erasmus' strategy, which has caused significant online fan division, was in keeping with rugby values or beneficial to the sport.

“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 [to do it] on social media.”


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