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'Thank you World Rugby': Rassie Erasmus is back after serving 2-month ban

By Ian Cameron
(Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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Springboks Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus is once again free to part-take in rugby after serving his two-month ban from any involvement in the game.

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Erasmus was given the two months ban from the sport in November and is still barred from attending Tests in an official capacity for another eight months, following his now infamous social media criticism of referee Nic Berry and the Test match officials during the Lions tour.

SA Rugby was also fined £20,000 for the incident.

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Erasmus, who has been posting humourous updates during his ban, some of which appeared to poke fun at World Rugby, Tweeted a video to mark of occasion of his daughters thanking the governing body for only making the ban two months.

“We just want to say thank you so much for only making it two months… we are so tired of having him at home. We have received enough life lessons and advice about everything. It’s enough and I think it’s time for him to go back. We are grateful that the day has arrived for him to go back to work tomorrow.”

In a statement released in November, World Rugby said: “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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Among the proven accusations against South Africa’s director of rugby was that he threatened Berry in the hope of setting up a meeting with the Australian. He then released on social media an hour-long critique of the match officials’ performance.

Both Erasmus and the union were also ordered to apologise to the match officials and after a u-turn on an appeal, an apology was made public.

“SA Rugby and Rassie Erasmus wish to apologise to the match officials appointed to the first Test of the Springboks’ series against the Lions,” an SA Rugby statement read last November. “We also confirm that SA Rugby and Erasmus have advised World Rugby that they withdraw their notice of appeal and will not lodge an appeal against the sanctions imposed by the judicial committee.

“This has been a highly stressful and charged environment with unusual pressures placed on all concerned and we have no wish to prolong that experience for anyone.

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“We have drawn a line under the incident and only wish to look forward. We will respect the outcomes of the hearing, allowing our national teams and rugby operations to plan with clarity for the coming months.”

Following the verdict of the hearing, Erasmus received strong support in South Africa despite the extent of the emotional toll taken on referee Berry coming to light in the written judgement.

– additional reporting PA and AAP

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