Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Rassie denies having a go at referees, claims tweets are for Bok fans

The SA Rugby director of rugby is adamant that his tweets are directed at South African rugby fans and not the refs.

South African Rugby Director Rassie Erasmus claims that his recent tweets, which have kicked up a storm on social media, have not been directed at the refs, and are instead directed at SA rugby fans to show where the Springboks need to improve.

Erasmus was responding to a question posed to him by the media at the Springboks team announcement press conference on Tuesday afternoon, on whether he was worried about getting in more trouble with World Rugby, after he was sanctioned last year due to his video on ref Nic Berry.

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Erasmus was however adamant that his tweets had nothing to do with the refs and were fully aimed at giving SA rugby fans a better understanding of what the Bok team needs to improve on.

“We have always been really close to our fans. If you go and read the tweets, they are actually for South African supporters to understand that there are some things that guys are doing really well, which we don’t understand,” explained Erasmus.

‘Add to narrative’

“People then form their own opinions and I understand that. They read the tweets and want to add something to the narrative that they want to put out there.

“It’s obviously something on our side that we have to fix. I think South African supporters would like to understand that, and if people then put a narrative to that, I can’t control that unfortunately.”

Addressing some of the videos that he shared in the tweets Erasmus said: “Obviously Cheslin (Kolbe) can’t go in that high, if he is not going to tackle the guy, he has to go lower.  

“Even where we spoke about the TMO not being available, I don’t believe Wayne Barnes will let that go and just say the TMO is not available, and that’s why we said we have no qualms with that try.

“When we make a pass of 10 metres, it is an optical illusion, it looks forward, and then the short pass doesn’t, and if we don’t learn from those things and get those things right it will never change.”

Erasmus continued: “I don’t tag people, I don’t say things to referees. I am saying these are things that we must fix, and if somebody doesn’t want to follow that, unfollow me or mute me.

“But surely there are South African supporters who want to know where we are going, and what we are getting right or wrong. If it is the way we communicate, the way we read the game, and the way we do our actions when we fall on the wrong side, those are things we need to fix.

“So it’s not having a go at the referee, because I don’t think Wayne Barnes would make all those bad decisions. He is the number one ranked ref in the world with more than a hundred Test matches.”

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Rassie Erasmus sa rugby Springboks (Bokke/Boks)