An independent committee has found SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus guilty of misconduct towards match officials during the series between the Springboks and British & Irish Lions.
SA Rugby’s director of rugby was in hot water for compiling a video in which he pointed out and broke down 26 errors made by referee Nic Berry in the first Test between the Springboks and Lions.
Erasmus and SA Rugby were cited for bringing the game into disrepute in the last weekend of October, and World Rugby on Wednesday finally announced the official verdict of the hearing.
Six charges were brought by World Rugby against Erasmus for various breaches of World Rugby regulation 18 and World Rugby’s code of Conduct. The charges, in summary, were that Erasmus:
- Threatened a match official that unless a requested meeting took place, he would publish footage containing clips criticising the match official’s performance and then making good on that threat; published or permitted to be published the Erasmus video containing numerous comments that were either abusive, insulting and/or offensive to match officials;
- Attacked, disparaged and/or denigrated the game and the match officials;
- Did not accept or observe the authority and decisions of match officials;
- Published or caused to be published criticism of the manner in which a match official handled a match;
- Engaged in conduct or activity that may impair public confidence in the integrity and good character of match official(s); and
- Brought the game into disrepute when he published or caused to be published the Erasmus video.
Having considered all the evidence, including oral evidence from the match officials, Erasmus, SA Rugby, World Rugby, and submissions from the parties, the committee found Erasmus guilty on all charges.
As a result, Erasmus has been suspended with immediate effect from all rugby activities for two months and suspended from all match-day activities (including coaching, contact with match officials, and media engagement) with immediate effect until 30 September 2022. Erasmus has also been handed a warning as to his future conduct and must make an apology to the relevant match officials.
Two further charges were brought against SA Rugby, the first of which related to the Erasmus video and not issuing any correction and the second to comments made by Springbok captain Siya Kolisi and assistant coach Mzwandile Stick at a press conference on 30 July 2021 that “adversely affected the game of rugby”.
SA Rugby has been handed a fine of £20,000 and a warning over future conduct.
Erasmus and SA Rugby have seven days to appeal the decision.