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'How the f**k in Australia and UK?': Rassie reaction to video leak

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Common to five of the six charges brought against Springboks director of rugby Rassie Erasmus by World Rugby was that he “published or permitted to be published” or “published or caused to be published” the infamous 62-minute video critiquing the first Lions Test performance of the match officials last July. 

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Erasmus was adamant that he wasn’t responsible for the video becoming public knowledge and available for anyone to watch on the Vimeo platform and the 80-page written judgment on the hearing provided a fascinating insight into the chronology of the video going viral and of various correspondence involving the Springboks director that particular week.  

In appendix two of the written judgment, which starts on page 61, it was stated that Erasmus recorded the video at around noon on July 27 in Cape Town, three days after the Springboks had been beaten in the opening match of the three-game series versus the Lions.   

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It then outlined that the “Erasmus video source code shows upload at 19:00 (time log 13.00 EST which is 19:00 Cape Town). The Erasmus video was uploaded without any privacy setting, meaning it could be viewed by anyone who had a link to the video.”

What Erasmus did next at 7.05am on Wednesday, July 28, was to email the video to five people – referee Nic Berry, World Rugby’s Joe Schmidt and Joel Jutge, Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber and SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux.  

It was sent with the following message from Erasmus: “Hi Guys. I send this link in my personal capacity and not as director of rugby of SA Rugby. To be honest I am really a bit lost for words on what to say to the Springbok players or management. Please have a look at the video when you click on the link. I think the video will summarise my opinion and frustration at how things were handled pre/during/post the match. I want to reiterate the respect I have for all copied in on this email, but I am also very disappointed about how things unfolded on the field. 

“I would fully understand if you don’t agree with my view and opinions and will respect that. I will also send this link to all the players in the current Springbok squad and obviously to the coaches. I just personally think that we were not treated with the same respect which the BIL players and coaches received. 

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“You are welcome to comment or reply on the video. I am confident you will probably disagree on most. If you don’t reply I would fully understand as this is a personal email and not in my role as director of rugby or water carrier. 

“My only wish is that both teams are treated equally and with the same respect for the last 2 test matches. Please communicate directly with Jacques Nienaber (copied in) our head coach going forward. Thanks for your time. Rassie” 

Shortly after sending that email, Erasmus then circulated the video to a WhatsApp group titled ‘Test 2 SA v BIL’ comprising SA Rugby coaches and players. That was at 7.27am. “The WhatsApp information revealed the identities of the persons in this group are Lindsay Weyer, Andy Edwards, Anuerin, Bongi, Daa… However, in evidence, Mr Erasmus said the recipients comprised the numbered 40.

“Mr Erasmus posted a screenshot of the email at 66 above with the following comment: ‘No rush to watch, but just to make sure you guys know what is happening behind the scenes to keep the contest fair’. Ras” 

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The developing situation then moved on to July 28 and WhatsApp messages between Erasmus and Russel Belter, the director of WILDCAM Limited, who filmed the Erasmus video and posted it to Vimeo: “Erasmus: ‘Have you got ten views already?’

https://twitter.com/RugbyPass/status/1461466551429783558

“Belter replies with a screenshot showing 31 views and the text ’21 views since this morning’. Belter sends a further screenshot of analytics showing views in South Africa (41), Australia (8), United Kingdom (3), France (2), United States (0). (Total 54) 

“Erasmus replies, ‘How the f**k in Australia and UK?’ Belter says ‘no idea, maybe the refs share your mail’. Erasmus says, ‘Keep me informed please, mate’.”

The written judgement went on to state that Vimeo data on July 28 showed there were 131 views in South Africa, ten views in Australia, five views in the United Kingdom, and two views in France. This was further broken down to show in Australia, ten views in Brisbane, Queensland; in the United Kingdom, two views in Bristol, two views in Reading, and one view in Palmers Green; and in France, two views in Cahors.”

The next day, July 29, Erasmus screenshotted a graph showing video analytics. “Vimeo data including a graph showing a blue line with 45k views on July 29.”

In its findings, the judicial committee remarked about the video: “It was uploaded to the Vimeo platform, which is a public site. While it is possible to password-protect videos uploaded to that site, this video was not password protected nor was there any other privacy setting. However, the unchallenged evidence from Russel Belter was that there was no way to access this video without the specific link.”

The committee added with regard to the July 28 WhatsApp exchanges between Erasmus and Belter that “it includes an initial request for views and ends with a request to be kept informed. Surprise that it had travelled so far as quickly (Australia and the UK) is not inconsistent with publication. We note Rassie Erasmus did not then ask for it be taken down or password protected.”

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Comments

2 Comments
d
dan 946 days ago

I didn't make it public...I just distributed the "Anyone with this link can view" link to 40+ people!
Hands up if you think Rassie shares line-out calls and coaching notes with "Anyone with link" permissions.
No? No takers?

D
Dawid 946 days ago

This is too reasonable an article for Rugby Media… who are you?

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Jon 1 hours ago
Buoyant England travel to New Zealand full of hope but are they walking into an All Blacks ambush?

> New head coach Scott Robertson has kept only forwards coach Jason Ryan and conditioning coach Nic Gill from the previous regime *and so there is little institutional knowledge inherent in the new team.* Shows you what the English know about sport. Isn’t just fantastic that the best rugby team, or brand, on the planet has three brothers playing together? One a bull, the other a dancer, and last a .. boxer? Looks like a boxer bless him. > But Robertson has been working to fix that issue, with senior players and coaches having been regularly meeting to work out how they will operate together both on and off the field to ensure there is strong decision-making and a deep understanding of how the team wants to play. Have they? I would suggest then it is not a case of fixing things, that is not what Razor does. Razor will evolve the relationship between player and coach into a more symbiotic relationship. This wont be a coach that shouts down at his players theyre not doing good enough. I can imagine one of the first key areas he will be implementing is the respective leadership for each coaching group. Tight five, Loosies, Halves, Centers, and Back Three, will each have their own leadership team and an agile approach to the playing group relaying what they believe is happening on the training paddock, and in games. It will be a very big step to get everyone involved, able, and thinking about contributing to that process, but I believe a very beneficial one if successful. > England may have their best chance to win in 21 years, but they may also be walking into an ambush – *about to be hit* by a young, gifted, supremely physical and athletic All Blacks team coached by a man who has made every post a winner so far in his career and has this uncanny knack of getting the best out of people. Or, by a group hurting from not getting over the line and proving to everyone they are the best in the world, full of experience and cohesion, grit and motivation. You only need to look at someone like Patrick Tuipulotu to see someone with a fire under his belly from missing out on the last RWC due to injury, and having lost to this opposition in the previous one. It will be very interesting to see how this ‘Razor’ plays it. Does he stick with the traditional and protect the time honored All Black values of commitment, or does he evolve and pick the best players to win the Rugby Championship - and by association this test series - like Akira Ioane?

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