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WATCH: Rassie Erasmus insists "I am not Jaco Johan"

The latest twist of a bizarre Lions tour came on Tuesday when Rassie Erasmus had to declare he wa...



The latest twist of a bizarre Lions tour came on Tuesday when Rassie Erasmus had to declare he was not behind a mysterious Twitter account. 

Following last weekend's 22-17 defeat, the Springboks has been quite active on Twitter. On a number of occasions he's quote-tweeted insightful video-led analysis from a 'Jaco Johan'.

The account had fewer than 100 followers when Erasmus flung it into the public eye - it's now swollen beyond 3,000 followers - but still has an egg for a profile picture.

The accounts historical 'likes' begin with a benign update from Munster when Erasmus was in charge there, but had been largely dormant prior to last week's first test.

Speaking at the team announcement for the second test, Erasmus addressed the elephant in the room.

“It’s actually why I’m at the press conference," Erasmus said, "I was feeling sorry for Jacques because I knew he would probably get that question. I’m actually not Jaco Johan, I’m Johan Erasmus.

“I follow Jaco Johan because he is a big supporter of us and he’s been feeding me some really good clips for a while now. These are some things I’ve used in the past, he’s actually a big supporter and a really funny guy.

“And as to why I’m so active on Twitter, well, I just retweeted one or two things that I thought were quite accurate. As director of rugby, the medical department is also part of that role and we have the BokSmart programme aimed at player safety.

“I just thought the way Cheslin [Kolbe] was picked up off the ground while on the ground was dangerous considering he could have been injured.

“We teach our primary school children from any age-group level to leave a player alone if they are injured, and we wouldn’t want our Springbok players to go and start picking up Lions players this weekend if they are lying on their back injured. So, I just felt it was an important one to get out there...

“I did retweet a few other things I thought were spot on, which is the same as last year. A guy like Squidge Rugby is someone I enjoy, and so when something makes sense to me I like to retweet it.”

"We will never do that"

The Springboks have made three changes to their starting XV for Saturday's second test.

Leicester no.8 Jasper Wiese makes his first start with Kwagga Smith dropping to the bench.

Steven Kitshoff will earn his 50th test cap, with Ox Nché forced out through injury.Frans Malherbe also comes into the front row.

Meanwhile, Erasmus says he found it "weird" that Lions head coach Warren Gatland brought into question the integrity of TMO, Marius Jonker.

"The last thing that we want from a Lions perspective is a Test match decided on someone making a really poor decision - going in with a shoulder, a tackle too high,” said Gatland following the South African official's appointment. Travel restrictions meant Jonker was a last-minute replacement for Kiwi official Brendon Pickerill.

Addressing the situation on Tuesday, Erasmus said, "In the past, we have found that when we talk in the media too much it normally backfires on us.

“But then Warren Gatland spoke last week about Marius Jonker. Warren is a great guy and a good man, but it was weird for me that people would question Marius’ integrity.

“If we had to say this week that Ben O’Keeffe is a New Zealander and Warren is also a New Zealander, we would never say that.

"It wouldn’t sit well, and the whole integrity of the game would be questioned. We will never do that.”

Erasmus was then asked if World Rugby have a duty to step in when pre-match comments go over the line.

"Not sure what the answer is on that one," was his response, "It is a difficult one.

"I was baffled when Marius was appointed as the TMO. I am actually close, close friends with Marius. I know him very well.

"I made a point of not phoning him before that match because I thought it was such a tough thing for him to do. I did feel when he was mentioned because he is South African, that didn’t sit well with me.

“I know last year, in the Rugby Championship, New Zealand and Australia played with New Zealand referees and Australian referees against each other. That’s the way things happened because of Covid.

“I don’t know if World Rugby should interfere, but if Ben O’Keeffe makes wrong decisions on Saturday, you will never hear us say it’s because he is New Zealander.

"One must try and stay away from those things. I have learned my lesson when I have made those mistakes many times. I have many times talked too much about referees.”

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British And Irish Lions Jaco Johan Jacques Nienaber Lions Rassie Erasmus South Africa Springboks The Lions Twitter

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