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Highlights on Off The Ball


Video rant against officials earns Rassie Erasmus hefty ban

Rassie Erasmus has been handed a severe punishment by World Rugby for his video rant that followe...

Rassie Erasmus has been handed a severe punishment by World Rugby for his video rant that followed the first test with the Lions. 

The former Munster chief released an hour-long dissection of the performance of referee Nic Berry in the wake of the 22-17 first test defeat to Warren Gatland's side in July.

The following month, World Rugby said Erasmus' comments on the match officials were more "extensive and direct" in nature than those made by his Lions counterpart, Warren Gatland.

Erasmus had threatened to resign if he was found to have brought SA Rugby into disrepute with his bizarre video.

On Wednesday evening, World Rugby confirmed that Erasmus' comments towards match officials during  constituted misconduct.

To that end, the 49-year old has been suspended from all match-day activities until September 30, 2022.

Having been directly involved in the Springboks' recent autumn internationals, it means Erasmus will be absent when they face England at Twickenham this weekend.

He's also been suspended from all rugby activities for a period of two months, given a warning as to his future conduct.

Erasmus must also make an apology to the match officials.

Meanwhile, SA Rugby have also been fined £20,000 (€23,840), a warning as to their future conduct, and a separate apology to the officials.

South Africa - and Erasmus - will appeal the verdicts.

During his hearing, Erasmus argued that he never intended for the video to go public, and that it was only meant to be seen by Berry, Joe Schmidt (then-Rugby and High Performance Director, World Rugby), Joël Jutge (Head of Match Officials, World Rugby), Jacques Nienaber (SA Head Coach) and Jurie Roux (CEO SA Rugby).

Erasmus reacted with shock when checking the video's analytics on Vimeo, discovering it was being viewed more widely than he intended.

"Hoe de fok in Australia and UK?”, he Whatsapped the video's producer, Russell Belter, as he pondered how it had gone viral.

Berry also gave his side of the matter to the committee, telling them, "I feel that Mr Erasmus engaged in a character assassination of me on social media.

"I have spent many years trying to build my reputation as an international referee and in the course of his video which was posted online, Mr Erasmus has caused it immeasurable damage."

Berry added, "My reputation throughout the rugby community has suffered immeasurably from his actions and I acknowledge that the impending investigation will likely lead to more public scrutiny and unwanted media attention.

"However, his actions are against everything our game stands for and I feel it’s important to take a stand against such behaviour."

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British And Irish Lions Lions Nic Berry Rassie Erasmus South Africa Springboks World Rugby