Rassie Erasmus to face World Rugby misconduct hearing over 'extensive' criticism of match officials

World Rugby was concerned about comments by members of both the Lions and South Africa but Erasmus' 62-minute video was considered a breach of World Rugby regulations
Rassie Erasmus to face World Rugby misconduct hearing over 'extensive' criticism of match officials

South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus. Picture: INPHO/Billy Stickland

World Rugby have told South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and SA Rugby they will face an independent misconduct hearing for comments made in a video he posted online last week.

Erasmus criticised the match officials' performance during the first Test between South Africa and the British & Irish Lions.

The World Rugby statement issued on Monday night read: "Match officials are the backbone of the sport, and without them there is no game. World Rugby condemns any public criticism of their selection, performance, or integrity which undermines their role, the well-established and trust-based coach-officials feedback process, and, more importantly, the values that are at the heart of the sport.

"Having conducted a full review of all the available information, World Rugby is concerned that individuals from both teams have commented on the selection and/or performance of match officials.

"However, the extensive and direct nature of the comments made by Rassie Erasmus within a video address, in particular, meets the threshold to be considered a breach of World Rugby Regulation 18 (Misconduct and Code of Conduct) and will now be considered by an independent disciplinary panel.

"World Rugby has reminded the management of both teams of the importance of this area and their obligations regarding the values of the sport. In order to protect the integrity of the sport and its values, World Rugby will also undertake a review of its Code of Conduct relating to incidents of this nature with a view to strengthening scope, rules, and sanctions.

"As with any test series, South Africa versus the British and Irish Lions is a showcase of rugby that generates great excitement and interest, even more so at this challenging time for sport and society. It is an opportunity for both teams and their management to set a positive example and concentrate on the spectacle and a wonderful example of rugby and its values at their best."

No date was given for a hearing.

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