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World Rugby leak suggests Rassie Erasmus' ref criticisms are mostly correct

By Paul Smith
Rassie Erasmus

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World Rugby will acknowledge that South African director of rugby Rassie Erasmus was correct about the vast majority of criticism aimed at referee Nic Berry following the Springboks’ first test defeat by the British & Irish Lions.


This is the revelation made today by Brendan Nel and Hendrik Cronje writing in the Afrikaans weekly newspaper Rapport – South Africa’s second largest Sunday paper.

Erasmus’ 62-minute video, which was released on Twitter, pointed out 26 errors which he claimed were made by Berry, his touch judges and the TMO during the Lions’ 22-17 win in Cape Town.

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Both the content and manner of the video’s publication have since come under heavy criticism and as a result World Rugby have convened a misconduct hearing next weekend. Both South Africa’s DOR and his employers SA Rugby will appear before this independent disciplinary committee to answer charges of bringing the game into disrepute.

However, ahead of this meeting Rapport has revealed that World Rugby believes Erasmus was correct about 23 of the 26 highlighted incidents.

This does not, however, deal with the question of the video being published on social media rather than sent privately to the sport’s governing body and its referee managers Joel Jutge and Joe Schmidt.

Sending this kind of video analysis – albeit usually on a vastly less substantial scale – to the referee post-match is a standard approach within the professional game.


Erasmus denies making the video public and various rumours have since circulated suggesting the source of the leak to Twitter is in Australia.

On an ‘innocent-until-proven-guilty’ basis, the onus at next weekend’s disciplinary hearing will be firmly on World Rugby to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Erasmus was the source of the leak which came from an account registered to a Jaco Johan.

If found guilty South Africa’s 48-year-old World Cup winning head coach could face a range of sanctions with a fine and possible ban – or suspended ban – the most likely outcome.




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