World Rugby has condemned the social media tweets by SA Rugby director Rassie Erasmus and accordingly banned the 2019 World Cup-winning coach for two matches.
This means Erasmus may not take part in any match day activity in relation to the two upcoming Test matches that South Africa will play against Italy on Saturday and next week against England at Twickenham.
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The ban includes engagement with media and social media in relation to match officials.
World Rugby said late Thursday that they had reviewed the recent social media posts by Erasmus that relate to match officiating in the Autumn Nations Series, specifically the Tests against Ireland and France.
World Rugby added that “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.”
Erasmus sent out several tweets on Sunday and Monday, seemingly criticisng the decisions made by referee Wayen Barnes and the officials in the Test in Marseille.
Erasmus though later said the tweets were intended for the Springbok fans to educate them on what the Boks should do better to get better results. The Boks lost to Ireland (19-016) and France (30-26).
This is thee second time Erasmus has been banned by World Rugby.
Last year after the first Test between the Boks and British and Irish Lions, Erasmus made a video pointing out several errors made by referee Nic Berry, which was leaked to the public. He was then banned for several months and only this November did he return to full duty with the Boks.
World Rugby also clarified on Thursday that Erasmus had other channels to work through if he felt he needed anything cleared up.
“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.”