Rassie Erasmus. (Photo by Clement Mahoudeau/Gallo Images)
SA Rugby and local coaches are believed to be angry with the director of rugby rassie erasmus about his conduct.
Erasmus was banned for two matches by World Rugby on Thursday after he posted several tweets highlighting refereeing errors. He followed South Africa’s narrow defeats to Ireland (19-16) in Dublin and France (30-26) in Marseille.
The Rapport newspaper reported on Sunday that SA Rugby considered sending Erasmus home ahead of the Springboks’ end-of-year tour of Europe.
According to the report, the governing body’s chairman, Mark Alexander, who is also in Europe along with CEO Jurie Roux, was furious after the latest debacle. However, when asked for comment, Alexander said that “they don’t discuss personnel issues in the media.”
The Afrikaans publication added that Erasmus’ suspension was merely a temporary measure to distance him from matches and the media, and that World Rugby was considering taking the matter further.
Furthermore, Rapport added that a number of local coaches and union bosses feel that Erasmus’ behavior is selfish, that its ban is tarnishing the image of SA Rugby and that it will have a negative effect on SA URC teams playing abroad.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a prominent rugby boss said: “We’re fed up with it. It has to stop now, it’s gone too far.”
A prominent local coach added: “We are very unhappy with this, it is incredibly amateurish and unprofessional. He is the director of rugby in South Africa. There are other teams besides the Boks who also need his attention.”
“I feel good progress has been made since the disastrous start to the United Rugby Championship last year. But since then things have gone badly in terms of communication with foreign referees.”
Another coach said Eramsus’s tweets were ironic as South Africa’s referees are “some of the worst in the world”.
“As a director of rugby, Rassie has a direct influence on the performance of our own referees. He sits in referee meetings,” the coach said. “However, there are blatant mistakes every week. Not only from referees, but also from TV referees.
“Why does it only matter if Test refs make mistakes in Bok matches? That’s what makes me mad. How will he feel if we coaches share a video every weekend on Twitter about how bad refs are It will become a circus.”
Erasmus recently returned to the manager’s box following a similar but longer ban by World Rugby last year. He arrived after his hour-long video highlighting Australian referee Nic Berry’s display in the first test against the British & Irish Lions.
Before his latest suspension, Erasmus insisted at a press conference in Genoa this week that he was not dealing with the referees.
“If he had a chance with the referee, well, I don’t think Wayne Barnes would do all those [perceived] bad decisions. He is number 1 in the world and has 100 tests to his credit,” Erasmus said.
“Obviously it’s something on our side that we need to fix. I just want the fans to understand that. If people put a narrative to it, I can’t control it.”
Erasmus tweeted again on Saturday, thanking the South African fans for their support: “Thank you! I appreciate your opinions and input! Lekka.”