South Africa Complimented Jerome Garces On His Appearance To Win World Cup

Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images for World Rugby

In an extract from Miracle Men, How Rassie’s Springboks Won the World Cup, author Lloyd Burnard looked at coach Rassie Erasmus' approach to referees and how he used both captain Siya Kolisi and Duane Vermeulen to deal with Garcès in the World Cup final of 2019.

Garcès was in charge of the Boks' opening pool match against the All Blacks, the semi-final against Wales, and the final against England.

South Africa complimented referee Jerome Garces on his physical appearance in order to receive favourable decisions during last year's Rugby World Cup, a new book into the Springbok's triumphant campaign has revealed.

“The report compiled on Garces, for example, revealed that he responded well to being complimented on his physical appearance.

“If the match was fast-paced, the Boks would make a point of praising Garces on his condition and his ability to keep up with the players, hoping to rub him up the right way.”

Rassie Erasmus, then South Africa's head coach and now SA Rugby's director of rugby, launched an extensive study into the mannerisms of all the game's top referees.

According to the book turned South Africa around in his two years as head coach, with the research that went into understanding the game's leading referees.  

They decided on a ‘good cop, bad cop’ approach with Duane Vermeulen and Siya Kolisi in dealing with Garces during the final, helping Kolisi come across to Garces as the respectful captain as the ‘good cop’.

"The research included analysis on how the referees blew games of rugby, from scrummaging to the dark arts at the breakdown and the offside line. But it went much deeper than that," Burnard wrote.

"The level of detail in the refereeing reports included personality traits, all with the hope of finding an edge. The Springboks would role-play at team meetings and at training sessions, practising what they would say to the match officials with the research in mind.

“He [Garces] didn‘t want people wandering around aimlessly at lineout and scrum time; he wanted the players to be in their positions and ready to proceed with the game.

“He wanted structure, and the Springbok hookers would check in with him throughout the match to make sure they were in the right places at the right times for a set-piece, doing their bit to make the game as clean as possible,” the book notes.