British & Irish Lions

War of words carries on as controversial Erasmus tweets upset Lions

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Rassie Erasmus
Rassie Erasmus
Gallo Images

The war of words between the British and Irish Lions and South Africa rugby director Rassie Erasmus continued on Monday over a social media post showing star Springboks winger Cheslin Kolbe being manhandled.

Erasmus retweeted a video in which Kolbe is fouled while off the ground, lands on his back, and is then lifted to his feet by Lions prop Mako Vunipola before medical staff intervened during Saturday's first Test defeat.

The controversial former head coach called the action of the England front-rower, who came off the bench in the second half, "reckless and dangerous" in a strongly worded tweet in which he tagged the Lions, Springboks and World Rugby Twitter accounts.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Lions assistant coach Steve Tandy said Erasmus should rather take his complaints to officials.

"We thought the officials did a good job at the weekend and if there is anything we need to bring up we will go through the appropriate channels," Tandy stressed.

"We worry about what we do and do our talking on the field. The comments of Rassie are his, while we focus on what we need to fix to make sure we are nice and clean about how we go about things."

The Lions lead the three-Test series 1-0 after the weekend's 22-17 victory in a bruising battle in Cape Town and the second match is scheduled for the same venue on Saturday.

Verbal sparring between Erasmus and the Lions began before the first Test in a hugely anticipated match-up with the tourists seeking a fifth series victory in 14 visits to the republic.

Lions head coach Warren Gatland took a dig at Erasmus acting as a 'water boy', questioning whether he was actually carrying water or just indulging in on-field coaching.

The Springboks did not take kindly to another Gatland comment, in which he said his team had "dented the egos" of the hosts after a build-up match to the Tests.

When the Lions turned down a chance to play South Africa 'A' a second time, Erasmus accused the tourists of being "scared".

The South African was named rugby director in 2018, switched to coaching and masterminded the 2019 Rugby World Cup triumph in Japan before handing over the head coach reins to Jacques Nienaber early last year.

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