South Africa’s director of rugby, Rassie Erasmus, has hit the headlines again after he laid into former Springbok head coach Nick Mallett for comments made on Supersport’s Final Whistle programme.
Using the social media platform, Twitter, Erasmus slammed Mallett, who was joined by host Owen Nkumane and fellow panelists Swys de Bruin and Hanyani Shimange.
The quartet were discussing the state of rugby in South Africa and whether the number of professional teams should be reduced.
Criticism of Erasmus
Mallett was asked by Nkumane about the state of coaching in the country and the 66-year-old responded by criticising Erasmus, suggesting that it’s part of his job as the director of rugby.
“That’s part of the director of rugby’s job. That’s Rassie’s job,” said Mallett. “His job is to bring coaches through and bring referees through. It’s a very big job that he has got.
“He shouldn’t be on social media talking about the Springboks. He should be doing his job properly.”
Erasmus posted his response – via a voice note – on social media during the early hours of Saturday morning and blasted Mallett, saying there was no substance to his comments.
“I struggled to sleep because I was really upset about your comments last week on the Final Whistle,” said Erasmus. “It’s the things that you said without any substance behind it.
“Nick, I am just going to tell you straight up – you don’t know what a rugby director is or what his job is. I am not appointing coaches. I have no authority in appointing coaches.
“I do have a programme running called the ‘Fast Tracking of Elite Black Players’. These are players who haven’t had the opportunity in Super Rugby or the URC and we are fast tracking them. We have a sponsor for that programme and we are proud of them.
“When you talk about players running sideways for 20 minutes, we have EPD [Elite Player Development] systems from U15 where players learn those things.
“Some players learn it well, some not so well. I would urge you to go and sit with Louis Koen and the EPD managers, who without any budget are running those programmes to make sure those players get better.
“You talk about that I must get the referees right and stop tweeting. The Springboks are the most important thing. That’s my first priority. I will do anything to make the Springboks win. Please don’t stop me there.
“We are bringing referees through, but it has to be accepted by World Rugby. If you can help in any way there, it will be really, really great.
“Nick, I am not going to fight with you in any way. I am just saying, between what’s happening on the ground and what you guys are showing on SuperSport, somewhere there is a truth.
“I would suggest that you hang close to that truth, because currently you are far away and are missing the ball by quite a distance.”
Erasmus is no stranger to controversy due to comments made via Twitter rants. In 2021, he received a one-year ban after he criticised match officials in an hour-long video on Twitter during that year’s British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa.
In November last year, he had just completed that ban when he was suspended again from the Springboks’ final Autumn Nations Series Tests against Italy and England.
This, after he put videos on social media in which he appeared to criticise referee Wayne Barnes’ officiating during the Springboks’ 30-26 defeat to France in Marseille on November 12.
Similar post after Ireland Test
It follows a similar social media post in which he seemingly questioned Ireland’s second try during the Boks’ 19-16 loss in Dublin the previous week.
The 50-year-old subsequently claimed those tweets were not directed at referees, but World Rugby disagreed and have slammed him for those indiscretions.
READ MORE: WATCH: Springbok centre Jean de Villiers hilariously comments on his shoplifting interception