Earl and England look ahead to Rugby World Cup semi-final
South Africa scrum-half Cobus Reinach was sent vile messages after helping his nation beat France in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals. The 33-year-old has also been named in the starting line-up set to battle England on Saturday evening for a spot in the final.
Emotions ran high after the Springboks’ hard-fought 29-28 win over France. Many felt that the host nation were deserving of the victory, and team captain Antoine Dupont made a point to complain about the refereeing after the final whistle.
South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has revealed just how badly some France fans took the result by posting a screenshot of a sickening death threat sent to Reinach.
Written in French, the X-rated message translates to: “Dirty son of a b****. I hope that when you return to [your club side] Montpellier, you get murdered by French people on the ground.
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“Gang of thieves – easy to win a title by cheating.” The perpetrator continued by sending a picture of Reinach’s young son with the message: “Go and die.”
Alongside the screenshots, Erasmus wrote: “Unfortunately these threats were made to Cobus Reinach!! It’s not nice and [it] upsets a mom and dad to see things like that said about their boy! But we are not gonna whine, we will just move on!!!”
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Reinach has played his club rugby with French side Montpellier since 2020, having previously enjoyed a three-year spell at Northampton Saints. South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber evidently feels as though the scrum-half is capable of shaking off the troubling messages in time for kick-off on Saturday evening.
Much has been made of World Rugby’s decision to appoint Ben O’Keeffe as the match official. The New Zealander was also in charge of the Springboks’ win over France, but Erasmus is adamant that his style of officiating should play to England’s strengths.
“We also had Jerome Garces as our referee for the opening game of the last World Cup, and then the semi-final and final as well,” he said, with O’Keeffe gearing up for his third South Africa match of the tournament.
“I guess it’s a bit of an unknown, either positive or negative. It will be best for the team that stays within the laws and hopefully doesn’t have rugby accidents, causing cards, although I think that’s one thing that Ben has really done well. I think [England boss Steve] Borthwick will be as pleased [as us] if he referees the game like that again.”
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