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Erasmus tweets seven-word reaction to his meeting with World Rugby

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Springboks boss Rassie Erasmus has broken his recent social media silence to tweet his reaction to his clear-the-air meeting on Thursday with World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin and Phil Davies, the governing body’s director of rugby. Erasmus was recently hit with a two-game match day ban by World Rugby for a series of tweets they deemed to be sarcastic criticism of the referees in the South African defeats earlier this month to France and Ireland.

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The South African director of rugby had insisted at a media briefing from Genoa on November 15 that the video clips and comments he was posting on Twitter weren’t criticisms of the referees. Instead, there were explanations to Springboks fans as to where his team had gone wrong and that they would try to do better in the future.

World Rugby didn’t agree with this Erasmus explanation and they banned him on November 17 from attending the Springboks games against Italy and England. It was the second such ban for the South African following last year’s suspension following his infamous 62-minute video critique of referee Nic Berry and his assistants following the first Test defeat to the British and Irish Lions.

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CEO Gilpin struck a conciliatory chord when speaking last weekend from the World Rugby awards in Monaco, stating: “South Africa are a brilliant and really important part of the game across men’s and women’s, 7s and XVs. They are world champions and Rassie has done amazing things with that team and is clearly an amazing coach.

“But our view – and he may not agree – is that he has crossed the line. For us, it is really important we reinforce where those lines are, for everybody to see. Being a rugby referee is the toughest job in sport. Let’s give these guys, and the brilliant women who are doing that job, the best support and chance we can, and work with them for them to improve. And that is a responsibility the top coaches have got to take as well.”

What followed was a meeting on Thursday between World Rugby duo Gilpin and Davies with Erasmus and it resulted in a media statement on Saturday from SA Rugby that claimed positive discussions had been held regarding recent events and match official communications in general. “Views were exchanged resulting in a better understanding of the respective positions,” read the statement.

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“There was agreement that further dialogue was needed in terms of enhancing the process that operates between teams and match officials to ensure all can play their part in creating great spectacles and avoid frustration but in a way that underpins the respect for match officials, coaches and players. Further dialogue will continue after today’s final Springboks test of the year.”

This media release resulted in Erasmus soon taking to Twitter to give his own brief take on his meeting with Gilpin and Davies. “Thank you WR and let’s move on!!”

Erasmus had earlier on Saturday posted a curious message that read: “Lekka Chat (15min).” This post came with a link to Vimeo. No playable video came up when you clicked the link, but it contained the message that an event was scheduled for November 30 at 4pm. Vimeo was the platform where the infamous 62-minute Erasmus video on referee Berry had become public last year after it wasn’t password protected.

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