‘The Erasmus effect’: Cheslin Kolbe’s high tackle on Lions star Conor Murray – which starts mass brawl – and decision to award Lukhanyo Am’s try sparks fury as fans suggest Rassie Erasmus’s verbal tirade affected referees in second Test
- South Africa’s Cheslin Kolbe escaped a red card for high tackle on Conor Murray
- Lions scrum-half Murray was taken out in the air during an ill-tempered first-half
- Winger could also have been sent off for head-on-head collision with Tom Curry
- The Springboks were also fortunate to be awarded a try in the second-half
Former England fly-half Andy Goode joined Lions fans in questioning how Cheslin Kolbe escaped a red card for his dangerous high tackle on Conor Murray.
Handre Pollard smashed the ball high and Lions scrum-half Murray was taken out in the air by Kolbe during an ill-tempered first-half at Cape Town Stadium.
The challenge sparked a brawl among the players on the touchline, but Kolbe was only sent to the sin bin rather than receiving a harsher punishment.
South Africa winger Cheslin Kolbe escaping a red card for a high tackle on Conor Murray
Referee Ben O’Keeffe’s decision to brandish a yellow card to winger Kolbe after consulting with the TMO however has been questioned.
Former England rugby star Maggie Alphonsi told Sky Sports: ‘I actually think he was lucky. Personally I think it should have been a red. And then we start to see the scuffles at the end where Curry and Itoje came into it.
‘You might say mitigating circumstances, the fact that Murray comes down with his arm so he doesn’t hit his head. But still, I think that was reckless, and potentially should have led to a red.’
Fans suggested Rassie Erasmus’ verbal tirade before the second Test has got into the referee’s head.
Referee Ben O’Keeffe brandished a yellow card to winger Kolbe after consulting with the TMO
Andy Goode tweeted: ‘How’s that not a red card for Kolbe?!’
Colm Flynn said: ‘Kolbe has Razzie’s rant against the officials to thank for that only being a yellow.’
Kolbe had been fortunate to escape a red card for his head-on-head collision with Lions flanker Tom Curry.
The Springboks were also fortunate to be awarded a try in the second-half.
Faf de Klerk prodded the ball through the Lions defence and Lukhanyo Am scampered forward to ground the ball with a diving finish.
The score was reviewed by the TMO as the Springboks centre appeared to ground the ball with his forearm, but the try was still awarded.
The dangerous tackle sparked a melee during an ill-tempered first-half on Saturday
Lukhanyo Am appeared to ground the ball with his forearm but the try was still awarded
O’Keeffe was under pressure after South Africa’s director of rugby Erasmus launched a hour-long rant about refereeing decisions during South Africa’s first Test defeat by the Lions.
The Springboks’ coach has made his feelings clear about a number of decisions he felt went against his side during their 22-17 defeat last week, calling Mako Vunipola ‘reckless and dangerous’ after handling Cheslin Kolbe, and has retweeted clips highlighting perceived mistakes made by officials.
The eye-opening clip saw him take aim at officials over a perceived lack of respect towards his team, highlighting 30 decisions he feels they got wrong – calling some of them ‘mind baffling’, ‘silly’, ‘comical’ and ‘incredible’.