Rassie Erasmus has responded graciously to the British & Irish Lions’ 22-17 victory over the Springboks in Cape Town on Saturday.
There was plenty of verbal sparring between Erasmus and Warren Gatland in the lead up to the first Test, but ultimately the Lions emerged victorious over the world champion Boks, who led 12-3 at half-time but struggled to get going in the second half.
There were several contentious moments during the game itself, including Willie le Roux’s disallowed try and Maro Itoje winning a crucial turnover penalty despite not supporting his own bodyweight when the Boks were 5m out from the tryline.
Then there was Hamish Watson escaping sanction for lifting and driving Le Roux into the ground and Cheslin Kolbe being adjudged to have taken the ball out on the full when replays clearly showed he was played in the air and his right foot hit the ground inside of the field before he was dragged into touch.
But despite the squabbles and the on-field controversies, the SA director of rugby and now the Springboks’ official water carrier – which was one of the topics that caused great furore this past week – showed dignity in defeat.
He took to Twitter to congratulate the Lions with a few lines that spoke volumes of his sportsmanship:
No excuses this side!! You are far away from home, families and going through same tough covid protocols like we do!! Congrats and well deserved !!!
— Rassie Erasmus (@RassieRugby) July 24, 2021
Erasmus also shared a friendly moment with Gatland before kick off on Saturday afternoon.
Rassie and Warren.
— Murray Kinsella (@Murray_Kinsella) July 24, 2021