‘Straight out of the Trump playbook’: Rassie rant goes nuclear
No one is sure if Springboks director of rugby Rassie Erasmus wanted to create a stir with his hour-long rant last week (he did), but even he would not have imagined it would have got out of hand like this.
Since then, World Rugby have confirmed that Erasmus will face an independent misconduct hearing for his comments, but Sharks owner Marco Masotti has jumped to his aid, Tweeting “I have a team of New York lawyers ready to take care of Rassie and SA Rugby,” while also adding “Let us put World Rugby on trial . . .”
Since then, comparisons to Donald Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani have been made online. The comparisons to Trump were already being made after he released his notorious video last week, and they have only grown.
This is what has been said:
Straight out of the Trump playbook. Loses a match, produces an hour long rant about how the world is against him, is charged with bringing rugby into disrepute and brings in NY lawyers to “put World rugby on trial” rather than address the allegations.
He’s presumably happy now?
— Ben Norton (@benp_norton) August 4, 2021
Led by Rudy Giuliani…
— Eric IS Bananaman (@TonyGagliardi4) August 4, 2021
The narrative that SA are victims of a conspiracy by World Rugby is the strangest of 2021. This is becoming a Trump like cult.
— Tim Morgan (@TeddyLendyWendy) August 4, 2021
I hear Rudy’s available. pic.twitter.com/CytTuJbtnp
— Andy Walker (@krakenind) August 4, 2021
The Springboks are the Donald Trump of rugby right now.
— Richard Mildren (@RichardMildren) August 3, 2021
Ag Marco please, your motive is just to take advantage of Rassie’s cult & Trump-like support.
I hope that he accepts your offer but still lose the legal battle, I just want to see how far you take this 🙂.
When did Rugby suddenly get all these showmen 🕺🏻? 😂 https://t.co/ucAzYnmbR1
— Aaron Smith’s Pass 🏉🎯 (@Doc_Torio) August 4, 2021
Rassie is the Trump of rugby.
— Some Guy (@Serious_Sellout) August 3, 2021
Not a Gatland fan but behaviour of Erasmus has been undignified to say the least. Director of Rugby as. Water boy and then the video stuff is Donald Trump stuff.
— noel cahill (@ncahill1) August 1, 2021
At elite level yes. It could help. But again, elite rugby is a small part. Rassie doing this is no different to Trump saying the election was rigged. He speculates knowing his support base will come out like wolves. But how this filters down to the amateur game is the issue.
— ʙʀᴇɴᴅᴏɴ sʜɪᴇʟᴅs (@rugbycology) August 3, 2021
On top of Masotti’s defence for Erasmus, a petition has also been set up called ‘Rugby fans backing Rassie Erasmus’s plea for fairness’.
This is what is written on the petition’s website: “South Africans care about rugby. We care about fairness. We support our Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, in his call for transparency and accountability from match officials and from Joël Jutge and the powers that be at the International Rugby Board.
“As South Africans we are used to fighting the odds, but in sport we expect a level playing field. Referees are human and they will make mistakes. We understand that. But when mistakes occur so often that they change the tenor of a game, and potentially a series, the beautiful game is spoiled. And when our captain and players are ignored and disrespected, it adds insult to injury. We have every right to demand accountability under such circumstances.
“We firmly believe that Rassie’s video was made for the sake of the game. All true rugby fans, whatever their nationality, want to see rugby played fairly and in a spirit of true sportsmanship. It would be a travesty if the International Rugby Board sanctioned Rassie Erasmus for acting on behalf of players and fans everywhere. If they did, it would send a sinister signal, not only to South Africans, but to true adherents of the game everywhere.
“Let the game be fair, and may the best team win!”