They offered public assurances it was not so and explanations as to what happened there, and why six white Boks huddled on the field after Friday’s World Cup victory against Italy.
To many observers, it looked as though Mapimpi was shooed away as Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, RG Snyman, Franco Mostert, Francois Louw and Frans Steyn clinched briefly to celebrate the triumph.
Erasmus felt it necessary to deny this, as did Mapimpi. Their responses were perhaps prompted by a realisation that race and racism remain acutely sensitive issues in South Africa - alas, even 25 years after the dawn of democracy, and with reason.
The specific scrutiny of rugby in this regard remains as intense, too. It also happened on the day that the South African Human Rights Commission lodged a case with the Equality Court against Bok lock Eben Etzebeth about a claimed racist fracas - claims the player has denied.