Warren Gatland furious after South African Marius Jonker is drafted in as TV official for Lions Test


Coach Warren Gatland left furious after South African Marius Jonker is drafted in as a last-minute TV match official for Saturday’s first Lions Test

  • South African Marius Jonker has been added as a TV match official for Saturday
  • Lions head coach Warren Gatland is understood to be furious at the decision 
  • Jonker has replaced Brendon Pickerill who was unable to travel due to Covid
  • The Lions were only informed about the late change on Wednesday 

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland was furious on Thursday after South African Marius Jonker was drafted in as a last-minute Television Match Official for Saturday’s first Test.

Jonker, who grew up in the Northern Cape, has replaced Brendon Pickerill after the Kiwi was unable to travel due to Covid-19 disruptions.

The Lions were only informed about the switch on Wednesday, with Gatland understood to be dismayed that no neutral officials were available.

Warren Gatland has been left furious over a late change to the match officials for the Lions' first Test

South African Marius Jonker has been drafted in as a last-minute TV match official

Warren Gatland (left) has been left furious after South African Marius Jonker (right) was drafted in as a last-minute Television Match Official for Saturday’s first Test

Jonker will join a match officials team made up of Australian Nic Berry, Kiwi Ben O’Keeffe and Frenchman Mathieu Raynal. He was TMO for the Lions’ defeat by South Africa A last week, when Gatland was angered after a high tackle by Springbok No 9 Faf de Klerk went unpunished.

‘I can’t understand where the comments were that there was no contact to the head,’ Gatland said last week. 

‘Someone was watching a different picture to me. I thought it looked reckless to me.

‘No arms and he’s hit the arm first and then the shoulder, but there’s definitely head-on-head contact.’

Gatland was angered that Jonker failed to punish Springbok No 9 Faf de Klerk for a high tackle during the Lions' defeat by South Africa A last week

Gatland was angered that Jonker failed to punish Springbok No 9 Faf de Klerk for a high tackle during the Lions’ defeat by South Africa A last week

Jonker has a history of controversy, having infamously disallowed Sam Underhill’s try against the All Blacks at Twickenham in 2018.

Meanwhile, World Rugby are not expected to make any last-minute protocol changes to prevent Springbok director of rugby Rassie Erasmus from doubling up as a waterboy.

However, referee Berry has been told to monitor Erasmus to ensure any assigned waterboys are actually carrying on water.

In Thursday’s Sportsmail, highly respected referee Alain Rolland said Erasmus shouldn’t be allowed to be water carrier. He said the Springboks had found a loophole.

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