British and Irish Lions prop Mako Vunipola was today forced to bat off an accusation of “reckless and dangerous” from Rassie Erasmus, as the Springboks’ Director of Rugby ramped up his erratic use of social media.
Erasmus, who has used Twitter to question Owen Farrell’s tackle technique earlier on the tour, has now turned on Vunipola after the Lions won the first of three Tests in Cape Town on Saturday. Vunipola put in an impressive showing off the bench having been drafted into the Lions 23 late, due to a shoulder injury to Wyn Jones.
But he picked up the floored Springboks wing Cheslin Kolbe after an aerial clash on the touchline. Erasmus tweeted a video of the incident, offering the view that Kolbe had been “played in the air” by scrum-half Ali Price, and adding that “more importantly for youngsters watching this clip, please never move or touch an injured player on the ground, its [sic] reckless and dangerous!”
Speaking partly in the language of emojis, he added that players should leave this to Vunipola admitted that it was the first time an opposition coach had called him out on social media, and said that he picked Kolbe up because he wanted to get the game moving and did not believe he was injured.
“I remember trying to get the ball in but I saw that he’d gone down,” he said. “I guess it’s one of those things, in the heat of the moment, you react how you would normally. He seemed to be alright, he played on in the game, so it wasn’t that reckless, was it?