Rugby World Cup 2019: Referees have favoured the All Blacks, says Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus

South Africa have continued to press claims that referees have given the All Blacks the benefit of the doubt ahead of Saturday's Rugby World Cup clash.

On Monday, assistant coach Mzwandile Stick started the narrative and at Tuesday's team-naming in Tokyo, head coach Rassie Erasmus doubled down.

Although they were recently usurped by Ireland, Erasmus said the All Blacks' decade-long dominance of the world rankings affected the way the match officials treated them.

"I think there was a time when they had so much respect from every level, even from referees, some of the 50-50 decisions just went their way," said Erasmus.

It may be an attempt to get inside the head of French referee Jerome Garces, who will take control of the pool match in Yokohama and was also in charge of Japan's famous win over the Springboks four years ago.

But Garces certainly can't be accused of favouring the All Blacks.

He red-carded Sonny Bill Williams during the second test defeat to the British & Irish Lions in Wellington in 2017 and also sin-binned Jerome Kaino in the tight semi-final victory against the Boks at the 2015 World Cup.

Last month, Garces also re-carded All Blacks lock Scott Barrett out of the opening Bledisloe Cup test against Australia in Perth.

It's dangerous territory suggesting referees have bias and Erasmus later softened his stance.

"Referees should be open minded going into test matches, which they are currently.

"It's always a pity when one gets misquoted, because we will always have massive respect for New Zealand and if I say anything that gets misinterpreted, I’m sorry."

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