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29th Jun 2024

Rassie Erasmus is back at his mind games ahead of Ireland test series

Ronan Calvert

Rassie Erasmus

Rassie gonna Rassie.

The first test of Ireland‘s two-game series down in South Africa kicks off at 4:00pm on Saturday, July 6th.

On paper, at least. In reality, every Rassie Erasmus-era South Africa match starts long before the scheduled date.

So naturally the former Munster Director of Rugby is busy on X (formerly Twitter) predicting the Ireland team in an attempt to get under their skin.

The table posted to his verified @RassieRugby account – rather than his “Jaco Johan” burner account which he used to question refereeing decisions during the 2021 Lions tour – shows each Irish player’s weight, age and number of caps.

‘This is class!!’ he wrote. ‘Going to be epic (South Africa) vs (Ireland). Next week this time!!’.

Rassie might be stepping up his antics now, but his players have been talking about Ireland for over a month.

The Springboks lost to Andy Farrell’s men in the Rugby World Cup pool stages back in September but went on to win the tournament outright, delivering when it mattered most in the knockout rounds.

Still, the defeat to Ireland seems to have left a bitter taste. Last month, second row Eben Etzebeth claimed that the victorious Irish players said “see you in the final” while shaking hands post-match, something he described as arrogance.

Etzebeth’s teammate De Allende recently alluded to a different, older grudge.

The ex-Munster centre is promising “war” this time around after feeling the Irish media disrespected the Springboks during the World Cup and when they lost to Ireland in 2017.

“We lost to them in 2017 when they beat us 38-3,” he said. “The way the media spoke, they completely disrespected us.

“For us as a group and for us as Springboks, it is about getting respect back, not their respect, but our own respect.

“We don’t need to but we really want to beat Ireland. It is going to be an incredible Test match.”

It’s been a long and emotionally taxing season for the Irish players, but a win in this blockbuster test series might just banish some World Cup and Champions Cup demons.

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