Why Rassie was in tears the night before second Lions Test

Rassie Erasmus. (Getty Images)

  • Rassie Erasmus says he cried in his room the night before the Springboks’ second Test against the British & Irish Lions.
  • Erasmus’ leaked video about officiating had caused an uproar in the build-up to the Test.
  • He says if the Boks had lost the game he “would have been finished”.

SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has recalled the pressure he felt before the Springboks’ vital second Test against the British & Irish Lions last year.

READ | Rassie stresses he didn’t leak refereeing video during Lions series: ‘I’m not this monster’

The Boks had lost the first Test 22-17 and a major talking point in the build-up to the second Tests was when a 62-minute video of Erasmus criticising the officiating was leaked to the media and went viral.

Erasmus was later charged by World Rugby and banned from attending any matches for a year for his public criticism.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Daily Mail, Erasmus insisted he didn’t leak the video and admitted he locked himself away from the public and his players before the second Test.

“Before that second Test I was crying in my room. I cried out of fear. I was afraid. If we had lost the second Test can you imagine the s*** I would have got from my own people?” Erasmus said.

“I would have been the guy who messed it up. I would have been finished. It was the scariest night of my career. The most intense week of my life. I was too nervous to get on the bus with the players. I drove in a separate car.

“I knew the players backed me. They believed me. If you heard our conversations that week, you would know it was going to be one of the most physical Test matches ever. You could feel the tension at the stadium. Except for the guys I know from Munster, all the Lions players thought I was an a**hole.”

After the Boks won the second Test 27-9, Erasmus he had never been as relieved about a match in his entire coaching career.

“That match was 100 minutes long but for me it just went like this,” Erasmus added, clicking his fingers.

South Africa won the final Test 19-16 to clinch the series 2-1.


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