Rassie Erasmus has explained the reasoning behind his decision to become active on social media platforms, despite his position as SA Rugby’s director of rugby.
Erasmus, who recently completed a second matchday ban from World Rugby for using Twitter to criticise officiating, on Saturday morning posted a cryptic link to a video set to go live on Vimeo at on Thursday evening, titled ‘Lekka chat (15 min)’.
Speaking for 20 minutes, the World Cup-winning coach tried to explain the logic behind his controversial tweets, as well as the importance of connecting with Bok fans on a human level, both himself and the players.
“Why would I do this? Sometimes when you do press conferences and stuff like that you don’t always get the opportunity to get the whole what you said. Sometimes the press conference gets cut into pieces… And I thought a chat like that post a tough year [would help],” he said.
“People want to know why am I on social media. If I can just answer that one that will be a start and then a catch-up chat in a couple of weeks with maybe some other topics and I might open the messages so you can add comments. Nothing controversial, just why I and the players would be on social media.
“Internally, the team must know the team as quickly as possible because of social media. It is purely to protest the players, to get focused and aligned for the Test match that happens the next Saturday.
“We have exposure to the team 24 hours during a week, 1, 400 minutes which our programme allows where we do the rugby-related stuff, the rugby-specific things… We have our programme Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday morning.
“I have sometimes seen a player leaving on a Wednesday at 12 o’clock from a brilliant training and seeing him on the Thursday evening or the Friday morning and the player is a totally different player, either too much confidence or no confidence, or something is really bothering him.
“In the beginning, I was totally against it: stay off social media, don’t follow it, all those things but eventually, you get to understand this is here to stay and social media eventually takes everything and combines it into one platform.
“If you don’t know the narrative that is currently out there you will sometimes be surprised by what is going on with this player and why is this player rattled. It’s because they read social media… it finds its path to the person you directed it to.
Erasmus added: “We are competing with what is the opinion of people, which is sometimes 100% right, but sometimes when you are trying to give a player confidence, a goalkicker or a guy who is making his debut or a person who feels he must be in the team or a player who has been dropped and then what happens on social media if you are not on top of that.
“So I decided to join just to find out why are players leaving on a Wednesday afternoon and you see them on a Thursday evening and they are either walking on water and some guys are level headed where it doesn’t influence them but then with others you see there is a hell of a story going on out there. So that is why I joined social media.”
He concluded: “I hope I explained most of that and maybe we will do this again and hopefully I didn’t say something that can get me into trouble again. Thanks for tuning in. Sorry, it was 20 minutes and not 15. Maybe again next week or if I see there is some good engagement and this helps at some level maybe a little bit later or sooner. Have a lovely day.”