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Rassie Erasmus suspended by World Rugby

By Ian Cameron
Siya Kolisi (Captain) of South Africa and Rassie Erasmus (Director of Rugby) of South Africa speaks ahead of the 2022 Castle Lager Outgoing Tour match between France and South Africa at Orange Velodrome on November 12, 2022 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Clement Mahoudeau/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Springboks director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has been suspended by World Rugby after a string of Tweets over two weekends which focused on refereeing decisions during the first two rounds of the Autumn Nations Series.

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South Africa fell to a 30-26 defeat against the French in Marseille on Saturday, a game which featured a number of controversial moments, including two red cards being handed out by referee Wayne Barnes.

Erasmus, who has just finished a near year-long matchday ban for posting a video about referee Nic Berry’s performance in the first British & Irish Lions Test, again posted videos in the wake of his side’s loss to France, having also done so following defeat to Ireland a week earlier.

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Today Erasmus Tweeted that accusations that his videos have led to threats against Wayne Barnes are ‘completely unfounded’ and he argued that his videos ‘were not aimed at the officials, but to our SA fans on what we should do better’.

RugbyPass understands that World Rugby have been in dialogue with SA Rugby and that following that process the decision has been made to suspend the DoR for two games.

A World Rugby statement reads: “World Rugby has reviewed the recent social media posts by SA Rugby Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus that relate to match officiating in the Autumn Nations Series.

“Match officials are the backbone of the sport and without them there is no game. World Rugby condemns any public criticism of match official selection, performance or integrity, which undermines their role, the trust-based coach/match officials feedback process and the values of integrity, respect, solidarity and discipline that are at the heart of the sport.

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“The behaviour of coaching staff and match officials are widely observed by fans, media and participants at every level, and such behaviours affect how the values are applied across the game.

“In addition, under the Match Officials Communication Framework, national teams have the ability to enter into a confidential feedback process, which is critical for success in a high-performance environment. The success of these communications relies on direct and honest feedback which is delivered and received in a confidential way.”

Erasmus is now banned for two matches.

“In line with the Framework, World Rugby has the ability to impose a sanction where a breach has occurred. Having considered the matter World Rugby has issued a two-match ban against Rassie Erasmus and accordingly he may not take part in any match day activity in relation to the two upcoming test matches that South Africa has against Italy on 19 November, 2022 and England on 26 November, 2022. The ban includes engagement with media and social media in relation to match officials.”

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