Warren Gatland furious after South African Marius Jonker has been called up as TV official for Lions Test

Coach Warren Gatland left furious after South African Marius Jonker has been called up as last-minute TV match official for Saturday’s first Lions test

  • South African Marius Jonker has been added as official TV match for Saturday
  • Lions head coach Warren Gatland furious over decision
  • Jonker replaces Brendon Pickerill who was unable to travel due to Covid
  • The Lions were only informed of the late change on Wednesday

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland was furious on Thursday after South African Marius Jonker was called up as 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 not informed of the move until Wednesday, with Gatland understanding that it was dismayed that no neutral officials were available.

South African Marius Jonker has been recruited as last-minute TV match official

Warren Gatland (left) has been left furious after South African Marius Jonker (right) was called up as last-minute Television Match Official for Saturday’s first test

Jonker joins 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 to South Africa A last week when Gatland was furious after a high tackle from Springbok No 9 Faf de Klerk went unpunished.

“I don’t understand where the comments were that there was no contact with the head,” Gatland said last week.

“Someone was looking at a different photo than me. I thought it looked reckless.

“No arms and he hits the arm first and then the shoulder, but there’s definitely head-to-head contact.”

Gatland was upset that Jonker hadn't penalized Springbok No. 9 Faf de Klerk for a high tackle during the Lions' defeat to South Africa A last week

Gatland was upset that Jonker hadn’t penalized Springbok No. 9 Faf de Klerk for a high tackle during the Lions’ defeat to South Africa A last week

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

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

But referee Berry has been told to keep an eye on Erasmus to make sure the assigned water boys actually have water with them.

In Thursday’s Sportsmail, the highly respected referee Alain Rolland said that Erasmus should not be a water carrier. He said the Springboks had found a loophole.

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