Rassie Erasmus calls out Mako Vunipola for 'reckless and dangerous' moment
It's all getting very unseemly.
Following the British & Irish Lions' 22-17 win over South Africa, on Saturday, Springboks Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus took to Twitter to congratulate the victors.
'No excuses this side,' he wrote. 'You are far away from home, families and going through same tough covid protocols like we do. Congrats and well deserved!'
The former Munster D.O.R and Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber were taking the high road, as others in South Africa bemoaned referee Nic Berry and Television Match Official Marius Jonker for some close calls that went in the Lions' favour.
Then, on Sunday, it all got a bit muddy.
Erasmus was back on Twitter and quote-tweeting from an account that, at the time, had '0' followers and only one previous tweet. 'Nosyone987' had access to high definition match footage, editing software and some graphics tools, and had some issues with aspects of the Lions' play.
Thanks. This is rugby - sometimes calls go for you and other times they dont https://t.co/ONZp0uoWJF
— Rassie Erasmus (@RassieRugby) July 25, 2021
By highlighting that tweet, the video views ramped up [they are currently at over 145,000 views].
Vunipola was asked about the incident in a Monday morning press briefing and said:
"I saw he’d gone down and it was done in the heat of the moment. He seemed alright. He played on for the rest of the match."
The only previous tweet from the user, going by the name Jaco Johan and with an egg-head profile picture, was a similarly-themed tweet about the Lions, with video evidence of alleged nefarious deeds attached.
Erasmus giving a platform to this Twitter user, who has since jokingly changed their bio to read 'The real Rassie Erasmus', has ramped up the tension in the Test Series, which the Lions lead 1-0. Some have gone so far as to suggest this is a 'burner' or second account held by Erasmus to stoke some flames.
This morning, Erasmus went ahead and shared video footage and yellow-circle highlighting to draw attention to Lions prop Mako Vunipola man-handling Springboks winger Cheslin Kolbe during the game. He wrote:
'Cheslin is obviously played in the air and clearly not direct into touch! More importantly for youngsters watching this clip! Please never move or touch an injured player on the ground, its reckless and dangerous! Leave this to the medics.'
Cheslin is obviously played in the air and clearly not direct into touch!!More importantly for youngsters watching this clip!!!! Please never move or touch an injured player on the ground, its reckless and dangerous! Leave this to the 🏥 🙏🏼@WorldRugby @Springboks @lionsofficial pic.twitter.com/lEcp5L4PBf
— Rassie Erasmus (@RassieRugby) July 26, 2021
While the Lions, through Warren Gatland and his other coaches, have used press briefings and post-match interviews to highlight certain issues or bug-bears, Erasmus is going straight to social media with his iMovies editing skills.
Gatland is up on press duty on Tuesday, so it will be interesting to get their thoughts on 'Nosyone87' and Erasmus.
LISTEN TO HOUSE OF RUGBY'S LIONS SERIES: EPISODE 6