South Africa’s Rassie Erasmus has to listen to video criticism of match officials for misconduct
South Africa’s rugby director Rassie Erasmus has been called for a misconduct hearing after his hour-long video review of the match officials following the first Test loss to the British & Irish Lions, World Rugby said on Monday.
The global governing body has expressed concern that “people from both teams have commented on the selection and / or performance of match officials,” but said the direct nature of Erasmus’ unprecedented public outbreak calls for a charge of misconduct.
“Match officials are the backbone of the sport and without them there is no game,” said a World Rugby statement on Monday.
“World Rugby condemns any public criticism of their selection, performance or integrity that undermines their role, the established and trustworthy feedback process of coaches and, above all, the values that are at the heart of the sport.”
The statement added that the video was a “violation of World Rugby Regulation 18” [Misconduct and Code of Conduct] and is now being reviewed by an independent disciplinary body. “
Possible sanctions for Erasmus, who is now South Africa’s rugby director, range from a warning or fine to a possible suspension of his office as administrator.
“SA Rugby has taken note of the allegations made by World Rugby and will respond through the appropriate channels. There will be no further comment until the process is complete,” SA Rugby said in a statement.
The Springboks were upset by comments from Lions coach Warren Gatland before the series began after scrum half Faf de Klerk missed a red card for a tackle in South Africa A’s win over the visiting team.
British media also reported that Gatland was furious about the appointment of South African Marius Jonker as television game official for the series when New Zealander Brendon Pickerill was unable to take the position due to travel problems.
“World rugby has reminded the management of both teams … of their commitments to the values of sport,” the statement continued.
“World Rugby will also review its Code of Conduct on incidents of this type to strengthen scope, rules and sanctions.”
They added that the series “is an opportunity for both teams and their management to set a positive example and focus on the spectacle and a wonderful example of rugby and its best values.”
The stormy three-game series goes 1-1 in the last test on Saturday in Cape Town.