Great Britain

Lions laugh off South Africa’s Twitter trolling attempts as mind games heat up ahead of Second Test

LIONS boss Warren Gatland laughed off South Africa's desperate attempt at mind games.

Springboks chief Rassie Erasmus yesterday denied he was behind a 'ghost' Twitter account under the pseudonym 'Jaco Johan', which has been used to pile the pressure on to the tourists.

Erasmus, who has also called the Lions "reckless and dangerous", popped up unannounced at yesterday's Springboks press conference after stirring things up on social media.

Then Zoom user 'Jaco Johan' appeared on Gatland's own briefing hours later.

Struggling to keep a straight face, Gatland said: "I just think of it as a separate sideshow. I haven't really taken much notice of it.

"The focus has been on ourselves. Letting that happen outside of our stuff.

"We haven't really been looking at that sort of stuff. We've heard the stories. I'm just trying to stay out of that stuff.

"I'm not on social media and things, so I haven't taken too much notice of it.

"I don't even know how to get on to it to set up a Twitter account.

"I think I would end up getting too much abuse, so there is no point me doing that."

Erasmus, who has been working as a 'water boy' in a ploy to get over tactical messages to his side, delivered his Oscarworthy press conference of Boks baloney after the hosts named their side to try and salvage something out of the series.

As he denied being behind Twitter's mysterious 'Jaco Johan' account, Erasmus said: "That's why I'm at the press conference … I'm actually not Jaco Johan.

"I am Rassie Erasmus. I actually follow Jaco Johan, he's a big supporter of us.

"He's been feeding me some really good clips for a while now, things that I've actually used in the past.

"He's a very big supporter, a really funny guy and I quite enjoy the things that he does."

On Monday Erasmus slammed Lions ace Mako Vunipola for picking Cheslin Kolbe off the deck as the tourists came from behind to win Saturday's First Test 22-17.

Erasmus added: "I just retweeted two or three things I thought were accurate.

"And I tweeted just for a simple reason — as director of rugby the medical department is part of our department.

"I thought the way Cheslin was picked off the ground could have been a serious injury.

"We teach our primary schoolchildren from any age or level that you leave a player as he is because it is dangerous.

"We wouldn't like our Springbok players to go and pick up every Lions player who is on their back.

"I did retweet a few things I thought were spot on. When something makes sense I like to retweet it."

Last week the Lions were unhappy at the hiring of South African TV ref Marius Jonker for the whole series.

But Jonker did come to the Lions' rescue as he scrubbed out two Boks tries in the Cape Town victory.

And this time around, the Springboks have pointed out the fact that Second Test ref Ben O'Keeffe hails from New Zealand — just like Gatland.

Erasmus added: "In the past we've found that when we talk in the media too much it normally backfires for us.

"Warren talked last week about Marius Jonker.

"Warren is a great guy, I'll tell you straight up, I always enjoy his company, he's a good man.

"But it was weird for me that people would question Marius' integrity.

"Say this weekend, Ben O'Keefe is a New Zealander and Warren is also a New Zealander, we would never say that. It wouldn't sit well.

"The whole integrity of the game would be questioned and we would never do that.

"We're definitely a team under pressure, you're correct there. It will definitely be a tough game on Saturday.

"We have our backs against the wall."

Warren Gatland makes three changes for second Test as Lions look to win the series in South Africa

Football news:

Bruno about the missed penalty: I have taken responsibility and I will not be afraid to do it again
Karasev will serve Liverpool's match with Porto in the Champions League on September 28
Arteta about difficulties: Arsenal had to go through this and become stronger. We will build something powerful
Pioli on Milan's victories with an abundance of injuries: We are becoming a truly mature team
Nigmatullin about Semin's departure from Rostov: Palych realized that he could not do anything with this team, apparently
Marotta ob Onana: An Interesting goalkeeper, but Inter values Handanovic
Messi rents a house in Paris for about 20 thousand euros a month