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Erasmus banned from all rugby activity with immediate effect

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Springboks director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has been banned from all rugby activity for two months with immediate effect following a disciplinary hearing after he was charged with misconduct during the Test series versus the British and Irish Lions. He has also been banned from any involvement on a matchday until September 30 next year, while SA Rugby must pay a fine of £20,000. Both Erasmus and SA Rugby must also apologise for their actions.

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Erasmus is currently in London ahead of Saturday’s Autumn Nations Series match versus England having sat in the coaches box versus Wales and then run water to the Springboks players during last Saturday’s game against Scotland. Those are activities Erasmus now won’t be able to do again until late next year.

In a statement released on Wednesday evening, World Rugby reported: “An independent misconduct committee has found that behaviour displayed by SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus towards match officials during this year’s Test series between South Africa and the British and Irish Lions constituted misconduct.

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Freddie Burns | All Access

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Freddie Burns | All Access

“The committee was chaired by Christopher Quinlan QC, together with Nigel Hampton QC and Judge Mike Mika (both New Zealand). Six charges were brought by World Rugby against Rassie Erasmus for various breaches of World Rugby regulation 18 and World Rugby’s code of conduct. The charges, in summary, were that Erasmus:

  1. 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;
  2. Attacked, disparaged and/or denigrated the game and the match officials;
  3. Did not accept or observe the authority and decisions of match officials;
  4. Published or caused to be published criticism of the manner in which a match official handled a match;
  5. Engaged in conduct or activity that may impair public confidence in the integrity and good character of match official(s); and
  6. 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, Rassie Erasmus, SA Rugby, World Rugby, and submissions from the parties the committee found all six charges against Erasmus proved. Two charges were brought by World Rugby against SA Rugby in accordance with World Rugby regulation 18 and the World Rugby code of conduct. In summary, the charges were that SA Rugby:

  1. Did not ensure that Rassie Erasmus complied with the World Rugby code of conduct and/or permitted Erasmus to commit acts of misconduct; and/or did not publicly correct any comments or publications by or on behalf of Erasmus that amounted to misconduct; and
  2. Permitted and/or did not prevent Siya Kolisi and Mzwandile Stick to make comments at a press conference on July 30 that were not disciplined or sporting and adversely affected the game of rugby; and/or did not publicly correct any such comments so as adversely affected the game of rugby.

“Having considered all the evidence, including oral evidence from the match officials, Rassie Erasmus, SA Rugby, World Rugby, and submissions from the parties, the committee found the first charge against SA Rugby proved. Having considered submissions on behalf of both parties in respect of sanction, the independent committee decided on the following:

RASSIE ERASMUS:

  • Suspension with immediate effect from all rugby activities for two months;
  • Suspension from all match-day activities (including coaching, contact with match officials, and media engagement) with immediate effect until September 30, 2022;
  • A warning as to his future conduct and an apology to the relevant match officials.

SA RUGBY:

  • A fine of £20,000;
  • A warning as to future conduct and an apology to the relevant match officials.

The parties have seven days to appeal from receipt of the full written decision.  Click here for the full 80-page written judgment. SA Rugby has since issued a brief statement. It read: “SA Rugby and Rassie Erasmus have noted the decision of World Rugby’s judicial committee. Both parties confirmed they will exercise their rights to appeal the verdicts. Neither party will make any further comment until the process is complete.”

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32 Comments
G
Gwynfryn 575 days ago

Some might recall the words of Angus Fraser in relation to Brian Lara (perhaps I have paraphrased this, just a bit),
It’s a pleasure to be on the field with someone who is greater than the game.

I think, in his own mind, Erasmus is cut from the same cloth. He is not wanted in the game, full stop. If World Rugby are serious about promoting the game they should stamp out people of the Erasmus ilk, the next target being Eddie Jones.

And as to the behaviour of Jonny Hill in relation to Faff About, someone else who does no good to the image of the game, he didn’t hit him hard enough. I know that the the referee penalised Hill but they never seem to take provocation into account. No player - as did Hill - reacts for no reason. Referees are much closer to the game and they must be aware of all the sledging. It is up to them to cut it out. Why it’s called ‘gamesmanship’ I’ve no idea but de Klerk seems to be a master of the art. in my view, he should the have reversed that penalty for the sarcastic reaction of de Klerk for, in effect, applauding him (the referee).

R
Richard 705 days ago

To be fair, Berry's reputation as a ref is more to do with how bad he is at it

C
Chris 947 days ago

Berry almost singlehandedly defeated Fiji the other day. He must be so proud of his comeback...

W
Wayne 949 days ago

It’s an Old Boys club there needs to be a way refs and officials are made accountable Maybe Rassie should have found another way I get his frustration at these out of touch officials

i
isaac 949 days ago

Oh...world rugby actually has rugby balls ....I thought it could only dish out punishments to tier two nations

C
Chris 950 days ago

Three things don’t sit well. 1 why not issue this on Monday after the game? It smacks of foul play. 2 . three kiwis making the decision? How is that a “panel”? Conveniently banned till just after the rugby championship 2022. 3. Gats started this whole saga and doesn’t even get a slap on the wrist.

W
Warren 950 days ago

I am a Springbok fan and I admire what Rassie has achieved in his career. I have now read the judgement and I have to say that I think it is reasonable. Rassie should have had better security in place and not published the video on Vimeo without protecting it from being leaked. Rassie should not have sent the video to over 40 people in his extended squad because of the risk of it being leaked further. By mentioning SuperSport as a party that would get sight of the video Rassie diminishes his argument that the video was only meant for 5 people at World Rugby and not meant for the public. I'm afraid we have to acknoweldge that this sage has done harm to several parties. No-one wins. Time for Rassie and SA Rugby to accept their sentence so that we can all move on. Just as a side: I hope the Springboks win this weekend, have a stellar 2022 and defend their World Cup in 2023. That would make me feel better. Also, condolences to the Du Plessis family 💔

D
DP 950 days ago

Hilarious, SA Rugby will tell them to shove it. Zero apology, well that's the end of the Boks playing test rugby, back to isolation we go. If England don't win this weekend then they really really really are shit.

S
Snash 950 days ago

Of course now minor to the precedent set by Rassie, but Gats questioning Jonkers appointment should... I dont know...something, there is a sound arguement it was the genesis of this Eton mess

S
Shaune 950 days ago

World rugby run by thugs, where officials are not wrong, never match fix, are truly innocent. Thanks for the motivation the Boks needed for Saturday hope your ref is paid we'll cause Saturday is war.

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Turlough 5 hours ago
'Let them keep talking' - Mike Catt claps back over Bok remarks

“You want that – not hatred – but whatever it is that stirs it all up. It’s good.” Agree with this. If you can put a common motivating idea in all your players heads during a game it can produce a real Team perfromance. Erasmus is pretty expert at this. It is quite clear that the comments by Etzebeth, Allende and others were not coincidence and were actioned to create animoisty before the series in order to galvanise the South African mind set. While I understand it, I don’t like it. They result in unnessary vitriol between supporters and for what? I don’t think any of the SA players seriously believe any of these claims and with Ireland ignoring them Erasmus won’t get the escalation he seeks. The vitriol shown by some SA and indeed NZ supporters is extremely weird for NH supporters (OK, maybe England have felt it) but it just feels very odd over a sport. Ireland were more or less sh1t for the first 100 years of their rugby, they have improved significantly in the last 25 to be in a position around now (it may not last) to go into a match with the big guns with a real shot of winning. The reaction to this from some SH supporters has been bizarre with conspiracy theories of ‘Arrogance’ fueling abuse from supporters and even NZ players to Irish crowds during the world cup. I love International rugby and the comraderie between supporters. I genuinely dread and dislike the atmosphere around games with the southern giants. They take this very personally. NH teams: play them, try and beat them, enjoy the craic with their players and supporters and wish them well. SH teams wish them well and they call you arrogant in the press months later. Its just a matter of try and beat them and then good riddance til the next time.

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