Lions' Tandy and Vunipola dismiss Erasmus' social media comments

By Sports Desk July 26, 2021

British and Irish Lions star Mako Vunipola and defence coach Steve Tandy have jumped to the tourists' defence after Rassie Erasmus took to social media to criticise their conduct in the first Test against South Africa on Saturday.

The Springboks' director of rugby posted and interacted with multiple posts on Twitter in the aftermath of the 22-17 defeat in Cape Town as he dissected what he thought to be a poor refereeing performance and an ill-disciplined outing from Warren Gatland's men.

The latest clip posted by Erasmus involved Ali Price's initial tackle on Cheslin Kolbe near the touchline before Vunipola lifts the South Africa winger off the turf – an act Erasmus cited as "reckless and dangerous".

The 2019 World Cup-winning coach added: "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."

Vunipola, in contrast, insisted he was trying to inject energy by regaining the ball as the Lions looked to get back into proceedings, while the prop also offered Kolbe his apologies should he be injured.

"I remember just trying to get the ball," the Lions forward said. "I saw he had gone down and it was done in the heat of the moment. He seemed alright. He played on for the rest of the match.

"I guess if he was really hurt, it was a bit reckless. But I felt the collision wasn't that bad. We were behind at the time and we wanted some tempo. If I did hurt him, I apologise."

This is not the first time that Erasmus' social media posts have caused both controversy and confusion.

A day prior to the Vunipola accusation, Erasmus retweeted a post from an anonymous user which branded some of the match officials' calls as "questionable" against the reigning world champions.

Erasmus added to the highlights package of the officials' apparent mistakes: "Thanks. This is rugby - sometimes calls go for you and other times they don't."

Lions defence coach Tandy, who admitted his lack of social media literacy, responded by offering the match officials praise and insisted the tourists would lodge any complaints through the relevant governing bodies.

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

"Every team can go through micro details and analyse it. We do it ourselves, but it is then going through the appropriate channels, raising the ones that are relevant and not making it about every small detail, just making sure every one of the major ones is correct.

"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."

The Lions, who have now won the opening Test in four of their last seven tours, return to action on Saturday as they look to secure an unassailable lead in the three-Test series.

Related items

  • Ford recalled by England for Six Nations due to Farrell injury, May ruled out Ford recalled by England for Six Nations due to Farrell injury, May ruled out

    George Ford is back in the England squad ahead of the upcoming Six Nations as Eddie Jones awaits an update on captain Owen Farrell, but Jonny May is out.

    Farrell has endured an injury-hit season so far and suffered a setback in training last week, with his club Saracens revealing he was set to see a specialist about the unspecified issue.

    While he is all but ruled out of the Six Nations opener against Scotland on February 5, England are yet to confirm if Farrell can return after the Calcutta Cup clash.

    Nevertheless, Ford is back in the selection to make up for Farrell's absence against Scotland, with the Leicester Tigers fly-half seemingly set for his 78th cap.

    Ford has not played for England since the 32-18 Six Nations defeat to Ireland last March, with Marcus Smith's emergence nudging him down the pecking order, but he has the chance to stake his claim once again.

    Also in Monday's squad update, England confirmed May has withdrawn from the squad with a knee injury, while Courtney Lawes – initially one of the favourites to deputise as captain in Farrell's stead – must sit out training this week because of head injury protocols.

    Nick Isiekwe has joined up with the squad as cover for Lawes, while Elliot Daly is in for May.

     

  • South Africa clinch series whitewash with dramatic four-run victory over India South Africa clinch series whitewash with dramatic four-run victory over India

    Quinton de Kock made a magnificent century as South Africa won a dramatic third ODI by four runs against India at Newlands to seal a 3-0 series whitewash.

    Half-centuries from Shikhar Dhawan (61) and Virat Kohli (65) gave the tourists a platform to build their chase of 288 from, but some excellent bowling and safe hands in the field saw the Proteas dismiss India for an agonising 283 off the second ball of the final over.

    India won the toss and put South Africa in to bat, taking the early wickets of Janneman Malan (1) and Temba Bavuma (8). When Aiden Markram fell to Deepak Chahar for 15 in the 13th over, the hosts were 70-3 and wobbling until a partnership of 144 between De Kock and Rassie van der Dussen.

    De Kock followed up his 78 from the second game in Paarl by making a classy 124 off 130 balls, with Van der Dussen (52) the only other to make a half-century for the Proteas.

    However, both fell in consecutive overs, and though a useful pairing of David Miller (39) and Dwaine Pretorius (20) put on a partnership of 44, South Africa was all out in the last over, with Prasidh Krishna (3-59) bringing the innings to a close with the penultimate ball for a total of 287.

    The chase did not start brilliantly for India as KL Rahul was caught by Malan off the bowling of Lungi Ngidi (3-58) for just nine, though Dhawan and Kohli set about repairing that early damage.

    Their partnership of 98 appeared to set the tourists on their way to a consolation win, though after Dhawan was dismissed when he hit an Andile Phehlukwayo delivery straight up in the air, allowing De Kock to snaffle the catch, Rishabh Pant was out first ball to Phehlukwayo and India's chase looked less assured.

    Kohli steadied the ship with Shreyas Iyer (26) before he was taken by Bavuma off the bowling of Keshav Maharaj, but Suryakumar Yadav (39) and Chahar (54) had India scenting a win.

    However, with just 10 runs required for victory, Chahar hit Ngidi straight up in the air, with Pretorious taking the catch, before Jasprit Bumrah (12) was caught by Bavuma off Phehlukwayo to leave India needing seven runs from nine balls with one wicket remaining, which fell when Yuzvendra Chahal (2) hit Pretorious straight to Miller.

    Proteas in safe hands with Bavuma

    It is safe to say that South Africa's ODI captaincy is in safe hands, quite literally when it comes to Bavuma as he took four catches to help his team dismiss India in Cape Town.

    Bavuma also used his bowling attack expertly, with five different bowlers sharing the wickets (Ngidi and Phehlukwayo with three, Pretorius two and Sisanda Magala and Maharaj getting one each).

    One day woes for India

    Although the first two defeats in this series were the result of poor performances, this was a much tighter affair and stand-in ODI captain Rahul will be pleased with the improvement.

    Chahar was one success story, coming in for his first game of the series and hitting 54 with the bat while taking two wickets with the ball, but this now makes it four defeats on the spin in ODIs.

  • George North still dreaming of Wales Six Nations return after long injury lay-off George North still dreaming of Wales Six Nations return after long injury lay-off

    George North still believes he could feature for Wales at the back end of the Six Nations as he prepares to return from a gruelling knee injury lay-off.

    The star back, who has successfully converted from wing to outside centre with Wales, has the most international tries of all current players in the world game.

    However, an anterior crucial ligament (ACL) blow has put his career on hold. Sustaining the injury last April forced North to miss the British and Irish Lions' tour of South Africa, plus the autumn internationals.

    He was not included in Wales' 36-player squad for the Six Nations this week, absent along with several other notable injury casualties, including captain Alun Wyn Jones.

    Champions Wales start their Six Nations defence against Ireland in Dublin on February 5, a date which has come much too soon for North to be considered. His short-term priority is getting in shape with his club side, the Ospreys.

    "Hopefully I'll be back into some sort of team training next week," North told Stats Perform.

    Asked whether there was any hope of him being available to Wales during the championship, North said: "There's two big steps: getting back to training full time with the Ospreys, then playing for the Ospreys with a view to potentially, maybe, catching the end of it.

    "But at the moment I'm just focusing on playing back for the Ospreys."

    Wales have home games against France and Italy on March 11 and 19 to finish the campaign, and North may be pushing for selection by then.

    He has been a key component of the Wales team since making his debut as a teenager, and passed 100 caps during the Six Nations last year.

    The 29-year-old has been itching to get back into action, but his absence from the pitch has allowed North some valuable family time.

    He married Olympic cyclist Becky James in 2019, and they had a second son, Tomi, in October of last year.

    North describes his wife as "a superstar" for helping him through a difficult rehabilitation period, and the former Northampton and Scarlets star is relishing his return to action.

    "I take great confidence in knowing a load of rugby boys that I know have had single or double ACLs and they're still playing now, with no issues," North said.

    "Luckily, I'm in a good generation where the medical care is advancing so quickly, so I'm benefiting from that. For me now, the focus is just to get back.

    North, who is a Land Rover ambassador, is evidently relieved to be finally "on the home straight", as he puts it. He compares his current routine to that of a demanding pre-season, with full contact training still to come.

    "I'm finding already this is the most frustrating part," he said, "because obviously you're a lot closer than you were six months ago."

    He can only encourage his Wales colleagues from a distance as the Six Nations looms, and with the likes of Taulupe Faletau, Leigh Halfpenny, Josh Navidi, Ken Owens and Justin Tipuric also sidelined, it will be a challenging campaign for coach Wayne Pivac. North prefers to look at the positives that might come from this testing time.

    "With adversity, you get exciting results," said North, "and the younger boys coming through that we've picked are exciting boys, and I'm excited to see how the boys come together to push on.

    "Any Six Nations is tough. Obviously, you want your main team out there the best you can, and injuries are a nightmare for any team."


    :: George North is a Land Rover ambassador. Visit landrover.co.uk

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.