VIDEO: Rassie - I'm not criticising the referee
South Africa’s Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus has come out swinging at a Springbok media briefing on Tuesday, making it clear his social media posts are for ‘educational’ purposes and not a criticism of match officials.
Erasmus has come under scrutiny since the beginning of the year-end season – which saw the Springboks lose to Ireland (16-19) and France (26-30).
In the wake of the French encounter, Erasmus posted a series of tweets – accompanied by videos – which highlighted a number of refereeing decisions.
It caused a storm on Twitter, which Erasmus’s supporters and his haters going head-to-head.
And the Bok boss did not hold back either.
He took aim at the ‘haters’ and those he called ‘parasites’.
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#⃣REACTION: #SouthAfrica‘s Director of Rugby @RassieRugby is not taking a step back in his latest ‘stand-off’ with critics on social media#Rugby 🏉#RugbyUnion🌍#FRAvRSA 🇫🇷V🇿🇦
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) November 15, 2022
“Guys please free to block or mute me,” Erasmus said in his latest tweet, adding: “It is really not a problem and [is] better for our health!!
“Sorry if any of the tweets were offending you!!
“Also, if you don’t agree with my tweets, please ignore them and don’t use [them] for click bate man.
“Use your own tweets and stuff. Don’t be a parasite. Lekka.”
Erasmus followed that up with an explanation at the Bok team announcement hearing on Tuesday, as the team start their build-up towards this coming Saturday’s face-off with Italy in Genoa.
He made it clear his Twitter posts are aimed at South African audiences and is part of the Bok campaign of #StrongerTogether.
“We have always been really close to our fans,” the Springbok boss said, adding: “I understand that people can form their own opinions.
“However, if you read the tweets, it is for South African supporters to understand that there are some things some guys are doing really well.
“Those are things which we don’t understand – like a player on the South African side [of a ruck] – or Cheslin [Kolbe] that can’t go into a tackle that high if he is not going to tackle the guy back. He has to go in lower.”
He said people attach meaning to his tweets to suit the narrative they want to put out in the public domain.
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“Even in the tweet where we spoke about the TMO apparently not being available,” Erasmus said, adding: “I said, I don’t believe Wayne Barnes will let that go.
“The TMO not being available is not Wayne Barnes.
“That [the tweets] is to share with South African people that when we throw a 10-metre pass, it will create an optical illusion that it is a forward pass.
“The short pass doesn’t create that [illusion].
“[The message is that] if we don’t learn from those things, and get them right, it will never change.
“I don’t tag people.
“I don’t say it is the referee.
“I am saying: ‘These are the things we must fix.’
“If people don’t want to read that, unfollow me.”
He added that he is hoping to show the South African supporters what the team gets wrong and what they get right.
“It is not [me] having a go at the referee.
“I don’t think Wayne Barnes will make that many bad decisions. He is the No.1 referee in the world.
“It is obviously something on our side that we have to fix.”
Erasmus concluded that he can’t control it if people attach their own narratives to his tweets.