World Rugby responds to Rassie video with 'no comment'

Rassie Erasmus (Gallo Images)
Rassie Erasmus (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The name 'Rassie Erasmus' was trending on South African social media on Tuesday after video footage emerged of the Springbok boss 'coaching' centre Andre Esterhuizen in the art of tackling. 

It was a clear tongue-in-cheek stab at World Rugby from Erasmus. 

It all stems from an incident that happened after the final hooter of South Africa's 12-11 loss to England at Twickenham last Saturday when flyhalf Owen Farrell smashed into a charging Esterhuizen. 

Australian referee Angus Gardner went to the TMO to examine the tackle but, somehow, decided that there was no wrongdoing despite the absence of arms used in the hit. 

Had the Boks been awarded a penalty, they could have kicked at goal to win the game at the death. 

Instead, South African fans and Erasmus were left furious. 

"We should start tackling like that and execute it like that. Nothing upset me about the tackle we just have to latch on that if it is legal, it is effective. To tackle a guy like Andre and stop him in his tracks is unbelievable," Erasmus said sarcastically after the match. 

That was the first stab at World Rugby, and the second came on Monday when Erasmus and Bok defence coach Jacques Nienaber were filmed showing Esterhuizen how to make the kind of hit that Farrell had gotten away with. 

WATCH: Rassie coaches the 'Farrell tackle'

Most rugby fans applauded the Boks and Erasmus for their sense of humour, but World Rugby did not see it that way. 

When asked to respond to the training video, Erasmus's comments in the press conference and whether there would be any repercussions for the Boks, World Rugby Head of Communications Dominic Rumbles would not budge. 

"Needless to say, we will not be commenting on the video," he told Sport24 via email.

When pushed further on whether Erasmus faced any punishment over his answer in the post-match presser at Twickenham, Rumbles again stood firm.

"I'm not commenting on this."

World Rugby has been on a mission to protect player safety in recent years, which made the decision not to cite Farrell for the tackle that much more puzzling. 

The Boks, meanwhile, say they do not know where the video of Erasmus, Esterhuizen and Nienaber came from. 

Sport24 spoke to a Bok spokesperson on Tuesday who insisted that the footage was not filmed by any representative of the team. 

The shot in question was filmed at the end of Monday's training session at the French Olympic High Performance Centre in Paris, meaning that the session had been closed to media. 

The Boks and France will meet in Paris on Saturday with kick-off at 22:05 (SA time). 

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