Rassie Erasmus doesn’t believe he will land himself in hot water following his series of tweets commenting on clips from the recent Springboks games versus Ireland and France. South Africa were narrowly defeated in both those Autumn Nations Series matches and the director of rugby reacted by posting some footage on social media, starting with a ball kicked at a ruck that turned over possession for an Irish try and then a six-video series with action from the loss to the French.
The posts have caused huge controversy on social media but Erasmus, who is only recently back involved with the Springboks following his lengthy matchday ban following criticism of the match officials during last year’s first Test versus the British and Irish Lions, was adamant that his latest musings weren’t criticisms of the match officials. Instead, they were merely just explanations to South African supporters on where his team was going wrong and where they needed to get better.
Erasmus wasn’t scheduled to attend Tuesday’s Springboks team announcement media briefing ahead of this Saturday’s match versus Italy in Genoa, but he made a surprise appearance alongside head coach Jacques Nienaber and he was quickly asked about his recent tweets.
Acknowledging the presence of Erasmus and wanting to quickly tackle “the elephant in the room” given the massive social media commentary in recent days, a journalist asked Erasmus: “I guess you are there for reasons also to do with tweeting. Can we address that, your criticism of some decisions? Are you not worried that you are going to be landing in hot water again with World Rugby?”
Erasmus didn’t take offence to the query at the briefing that was being staged to discuss the four changes to the Springboks XV for the third match of their European tour next weekend. Instead, he embarked on a lengthy answer that concluded with him insisting his posts were only to explain incidents in matches to South African fans and that he wasn’t responsible if people were interpreting his comments as criticisms of the match officials.