| 18.1°C Dublin

'He played on so it wasn’t that reckless, was it?' - Vunipola responds to Rassie Erasmus' Twitter comments


South Africa Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus. Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Sportsfile

South Africa Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus. Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Sportsfile

South Africa Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus. Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Sportsfile

The Lions have hit back at Rassie Erasmus' social media ploy of highlighting what he perceived to be “reckless and dangerous” play on the tourists' part during Saturday's first Test defeat.

South Africa's director of rugby has upped the ante ahead of this weekend's second Test by retweeting and commenting on an analysis video, which shows “some questionable calls”.

Eyebrows have been raised at the anonymous account named 'Jaco Johan', which is using similar yellow oval graphics as Erasmus to raise certain issues.

Lions defence coach Steve Tandy insisted those kinds of officiating gripes should be kept for the proper channels rather than Twitter.

“Being bit of a dinosaur myself and not being on Twitter and things, I'm hearing lots of hearsay,” Tandy said.

“Ultimately it's his viewpoint. We thought the officials did a really good job at the weekend and if there's anything we need to bring up we'll go through the appropriate channels.

“It’s a tough job and I know everyone moans around certain decisions. There’s always frustration, and we get it as coaches. But if you can keep that, because it is a tough job out there for the officials.

“If we can keep to the proper channels, I think that is probably the best way around that because it’s a tough job for the players, the coaches, and it’s definitely tough for the referees too.”

Mako Vunipola was one of the individuals targeted by Erasmus on social media, as he was unhappy with how the Lions prop picked Cheslin Kolbe off the ground after the Springboks winger had claimed a high ball.

Rugby Newsletter

Subscribe to 'The Collision' for a weekly update from Rugby Correspondent Ruaidhri O'Connor and the best writing from our expert team Issued every Friday morning

This field is required

Erasmus tweeted:

"Cheslin is obviously played in the air and clearly not direct into touch!! More importantly for youngsters watching this clip!!!! Please never move or touch an injured player on the ground, its reckless and dangerous! Leave this to the (medical and thank you emojis) @WorldRugby @Springboks @lionsofficial"

But Vunipola has hit back saying:

“I remember trying to get the ball in but I saw that he’d gone down. I guess it’s one of those things, in the heat of the moment, you react how you would normally. He seemed to be alright, he played on in the game, so it wasn’t that reckless, was it?”

Vunipola went on to explain that although he has been called out publicly before, it hasn't happened in this bizarre manner.

“On social media, maybe, but no, the same happened in 2013 when someone – Bob Dwyer I think it was – said something about my scrummaging then,” the English loosehead said.

“But maybe, yeah, it’s the first time a coach has said something like that.

“I guess if he was really hurt then it was a bit reckless, but I just felt like the collision wasn’t that bad. I saw that people were putting it up (on social media) and mentioning it.

“We were behind at the time and wanted to get some tempo in the game so I wanted to get the ball off him.

“If I did hurt him then I do apologise but as I mentioned, in the heat of the moment, you just react as you would naturally.”

Away from the social media frenzy, the Lions are sweating over the fitness of Wyn Jones for Saturday's second Test.

The Welsh prop was due to start last weekend only to pick up a shoulder problem, which paved the way for Vunipola to come onto the bench, with Rory Sutherland promoted to the starting team.

Jones is a major doubt and should he not recover in time, Vunipola will push hard for inclusion from the start.

Dan Biggar is following the return-to-play-protocols after shipping a head knock last weekend, while Finn Russell is set to return to training following his Achilles injury.

The Lions are due to name their team to play South Africa tomorrow morning, with the Boks set to do so on Wednesday.

Most Watched