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World Rugby to engage with SA Rugby over 'nature' of Erasmus comments

An hour-long video features a host of complaints by the Springboks’ director of rugby.

Rassie Erasmus led the Boks to World Cup glory in 2019.
Rassie Erasmus led the Boks to World Cup glory in 2019.
Image: Ashley Western

WORLD RUGBY SAYS it will engage with the South African Rugby Union following Rassie Erasmus’ unprecedented hour-long video criticism of the refereeing during the Springboks’ first Test defeat to the Lions last weekend.

Erasmus highlighted a wide range of what he perceived to be poor decisions and non-decisions against his team by referee Nic Berry and his assistants, while the SA Rugby director of rugby was also critical of World Rugby’s process for feedback on refereeing queries.

Erasmus suggested that Berry had treated Springboks captain Siya Kolisi with less respect than Lions skipper Alun Wyn Jones, while he also criticised Lions head coach Warren Gatland for questioning the integrity of South African television match official Marius Jonker during the build-up to the first Test. 

The former Munster director of rugby offered to stand down from his current position if that is deemed necessary following his scathing video.

World Rugby has this afternoon issued a brief statement that outlines its plans to deal directly with SA Rugby rather than mimicking Erasmus’ public measure.

“World Rugby notes the comments made by Rassie Erasmus,” reads the statement.

“The nature of these will be raised with the union via the usual official channels and no further comment will be made at this stage.”

It’s understood World Rugby is naturally disappointed at Erasmus’ outburst and the governing body is also concerned at how respect for match officials appears to be fading.

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While there has been no official suggestion of any action being taken against Erasmus at this stage, it’s believed that World Rugby will consider the possibility as they review his comments in further depth.

World Rugby’s official regulations state that misconduct includes “making any comments (including to the media) that attack, disparage or denigrate the game, World Rugby, and/or match officials.

The regulations also say that misconduct includes “comments in connection with match officiating (or any aspect thereof), which are prejudicial to the interests of the game and/or any person.”

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