Simon Zebo: ‘Rassie Erasmus hates the Irish, he really, really doesn’t like us’

Colin Newboult
Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus and ex-Ireland back Simon Zebo, who worked together at Munster.

Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus and ex-Ireland back Simon Zebo, who worked together at Munster.

Simon Zebo has stirred the pot between Ireland and the Springboks by suggesting that Rassie Erasmus “hates the Irish.”

The two countries are set to face off next month in a couple of huge clashes, with the war of words already beginning ahead of the Tests.

South Africa centre Damian de Allende caused controversy last week by stating that they had been “disrespected” by the Irish media.

What De Allende said

“We lost to them in 2017 when they beat us 38-3. The way the media spoke, they completely disrespected us,” De Allende told RugbyPass TV.

“For us as a group and for us as Springboks, it is about getting respect back, not their respect, but our own respect. We don’t need to but we really want to beat Ireland. It is going to be an incredible Test match.

“That first game against Ireland at Loftus, whether I play or not, it is just going to feel almost like a war.

“A lot of people give them credit for being number one in the world because they play such good footy but that’s going to be a flippin’ incredible battle.”

Damian de Allende expecting a ‘war’ with Ireland after media ‘disrespected’ the Springboks

After De Allende lit the flame, Zebo then added fuel to the fire by suggesting that the current Boks head coach has a genuine dislike of Ireland.

The back three player, who has earned 35 caps for the national team, worked with Erasmus at Munster before the 51-year-old joined the South Africa set-up in 2018.

Zebo was appearing on the Kick Offs and Kick Ons podcast where he was asked about whether he agreed with De Allende’s view on the Irish media before expanding on the rivalry between the nations.

‘Quite funny’

“To be fair, to his (De Allende’s) point, I think the media did get a bit out of control here with the hopes and expectations,” he said.

“I suppose it was a little bit extra around South Africa because Rassie had obviously coached us here in Munster and he’s been involved in the Irish set-up. Jacques Nienaber’s now coaching at Leinster and there’s a bit of rivalry.

“Rassie hates the Irish, he really, really doesn’t like us, which is quite funny. It will build up even more and it drip feeds into the players. RG Snyman’s been copping a little bit of slack over it.

“There is a really, really big rivalry there and it’s bubbling. It’s mainly the Irish media’s fault, based in Dublin I think, not the Irish media down here where I am (at Munster).

“It’s going to be a juicy Test series, that’s for sure.”

Although the Springboks have won back-to-back World Cups, they have not beaten Ireland since 2016, when Allister Coetzee was the head coach.

The Irishmen have claimed three victories in a row over South Africa, including at the Rugby World Cup where they emerged 13-8 triumphant.

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