Erasmus has been banned from entering the stadium for the second year in a row due to a two-game matchday ban imposed for publishing a series of sarcastic tweets criticizing officials during the Autumn Nations Series.
Wayne Barnes, who oversaw South Africa’s defeat by France on 12 November, faced abuse on social media as a result of Erasmus’ comments.
Springboks director of rugby Erasmus was handed only a one-year suspension for releasing a video criticizing Australian referee Nick Berry during last year’s Lions tour.
Stopping short of condemning Erasmus’ conduct, Jones states that officers should be treated with respect.
“I’m not perfect. I’ve said things that may not have been right, but the longer I coach, the more I accept that we have to look after refereeing,” the Australian said.
“I remember in 2007 I was fined $10,000 for criticizing a referee. That’s a lot of money in Queensland and I had to pay it myself because the union didn’t pay it for me.
“Since then I’ve accepted the fact that we shouldn’t talk about referees, so I have a general rule that I don’t talk about referees – I try not to – and I don’t talk about coaches. Bolta who speaks about the referee.
“For me it’s simple. It’s a game, play the game, the referee is in charge, if he makes mistakes, admit it, because that’s our game.
“If we want a competition game the referees are going to make mistakes. If we don’t want a competition let’s play basketball. Let’s not have a competition and call it basketball. Or we play Aussie rules or football.
Jones questions whether Erasmus’ repeated criticism of refereeing is designed to create a siege mentality as South Africa inch closer to defending the World Cup they won by toppling England in 2019.
Jones said, “Whenever you’ve won something, you need to find the motivation to do it again and maybe this is a clever way to find motivation.”
Jones revamped his starting XV for the final assignment of autumn, making four changes, including two in the front row, where Mako Vunipola and Jamie George replaced Ellis Ganz and Luke Cowan-Dickie. Let’s start
With Sam Symonds demoted to the bench to make room for Alex Coles at blindside flanker, Jones sees three line-out jumpers essential against South Africa, who will target England with a high-volume kicking game .
Completing the adjustment, Tommy Freeman has won his third cap on the right wing at the expense of Jack Nowell in what will be his first appearance since impressing on the July tour of Australia.
“It’s a completely different game. South Africa keep coming in (shaking hands) from here, whereas with New Zealand they come here and they go wide quickly,” Jones said.
“We have to face the challenge of coming through their front door. It is a different game and we have selected a different side to neutralize their strengths and play to our strengths.
“Our belief in the way we want to play is going to be tested again because these guys are about to come out the block and out the front door.
“We’re going to fight and fight and fight and when we get our chance to break them we’ve got to go for it.”
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