Springboks rugby manager Rasi Erasmus says he was “puzzled” to appoint Marius Juncker as TV match official for the first Test with the British and Irish Lions.
The Lions have criticized the decision to appoint South Africa to the position of TMO.
Juncker had to judge several tough decisions as the Lions won 22-17.
Erasmus said he is a “close friend and confidant of Marius,” adding that he did not call him before the match because it was “a difficult thing for him”.
“I was baffled when Marius was appointed to the position of TMO,” Erasmus added.
“But when he was mentioned because he’s South African, and how he rules his team, it wasn’t too good for me to be honest with you.
“Last year in rugby, New Zealand and Australia played against each other with the referees for New Zealand and Australia.
“This is the way things are with Covid. If Ben O’Keefe made the wrong decisions on Saturday, he wouldn’t make us say that because he’s a New Zealander and Warren Gatland is from New Zealand.”
South Africa must win the second Test on Saturday in order to stay in the series and rather than focus on that, it was instead on the supposedly weird Twitter feed of Erasmus.
The 48-year-old has been accused of creating a fake profile under the name Jaco Johan on the social media site – the account criticized refereeing decisions from the first Test.
“No, I’m not actually Jacko Gohan. I actually follow Jacko – he’s a huge supporter of us and he’s been giving me some really good clips for a while now. Some really good stuff I’ve used in the past,” added Erasmus.
“He’s a very big supporter. A very funny guy.”
The chief of lions, Gatland, who is not on social media, was also questioned about the account but declined the question.
“I think it’s just a separate sideshow,” he said. “I didn’t notice that much – the focus was on ourselves.”
Both sides announced their lineups on match day for the second Test on Tuesday with three changes each for their 15th start.
The Lions team up with Chris Harris, Mako Vunipola and Conor Murray on the team, while South Africa includes Stephen Kitchoff, Frans Malherbe and Jasper Vesey.