The Lions lavished praise on second Test referee Ben O'Keeffe after South Africa boss Rassie Erasmus shocked the game with his hour-long rant, going on a charm offensive as the Australian union backed the referee the Boks supremo eviscerated.
The New Zealand official will be one of the most scrutinised officials in the game's history on Saturday, with first Test referee Nic Berry's decisions so outwardly savaged by Erasmus this week.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Rugby Australia were appalled by the attack on their referee Berry - noting their 'dismay', saying they will support his 'physical and mental well-being'.
The Lions have lavished praise on New Zealand second Test referee Ben O'Keeffe (middle)
South Africa boss Rassie Erasmus (above) shocked the game with his hour-long rant
Their statement read: 'Rugby Australia has noted with dismay and concern the recent public commentary by South African Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus, regarding Australian referee Nic Berry and other match officials.
'There is no place for abuse of match officials in Australian Rugby, with Rugby Australia committed to promoting a fair, safe and inclusive Rugby experience for all participants, officials and fans.
'Rugby Australia believes the recent actions are unacceptable and against the spirit and values of the game.' And Australian chief executive Andy Marinos added: 'Match officials form the very fabric of our game - simply, the game would not exist without them. As a highly regarded and respected international referee appointed by World Rugby, the attack on Nic's integrity, character and reputation is unacceptable.
South Africa director of rugby Erasmus launched into an hour-long rant at World Rugby and their referees as he dissected their first Test loss to the British and Irish LionsInsurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer