Rassie At It Again
Mr. Rassie Erasmus has denied that his recent contentious tweets criticizing referees for bad calls against South Africa represent a new attack on them, despite criticism from former top official Nigel Owens.
After serving a World Rugby suspension for his infamous hour-long video criticizing referee Nic Berry's performance during the first Test between the Springboks and the British and Irish Lions last year, South Africa's director of rugby Erasmus has only recently returned to matchday duties.
That didn't stop Erasmus from posting a number of videos on social media that seemed to criticize Wayne Barnes' calls during the Springboks' 30-26 loss to France last Saturday. He also posted a video of the breakdown that resulted in Ireland's second try during South Africa's 19-16 loss to Ireland earlier this month.
Even in South Africa, where Erasmus became a national hero after leading the Springboks to victory in the 2019 World Cup final, there are worries his Twitter rants may ultimately be detrimental to the team's success. Rugby union has always taken pleasure in the respect accorded to match officials.
However, speaking on a conference call after the defending world champions announced their lineup for this weekend's Autumn Nations matchup against Italy in Genoa, he said:
“It’s not having a go at the referee…It’s obviously something on our side that we have to fix."
“I think South African supporters would like to understand that but if people put a narrative to that, that I can’t control unfortunately.”
The clips Erasmus has shared on his Twitter page all include instances from a game against South Africa, even if a few of them are accompanied with statements outlining the Springboks' shortcomings.