South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus faces disciplinary hearing

The date of hearing is likely to be after the third and deciding Test on Saturday
The date of hearing is likely to be after the third and deciding Test on Saturday

World Rugby has confirmed that South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus will face an independent misconduct hearing following his 62-minute video criticising the match officials during the first Test against the British and Irish Lions.

Erasmus on his video launched criticism especially on Australian referee Nic Berry on treating Siya Kolisi and Alun Wyn Jones differently and also listed out the decisions that went against the Springboks in the opening game of the series that they went on to lose 17-22.

The Lions head coach Warren Gatland also came under the spotlight for slamming the move to appoint South African Marius Jonker as TMO after New Zealander Brendon Pickerill was unable to travel due to coronavirus restrictions.

Reacting the comments from the 48-year-old, the governing body said they were concerned by the criticism on match officials from both the sides and said Erasmus in particular had breached the World Rugby regulations and will face an independent disciplinary hearing.

Even though the date of hearing was not disclosed, it is understood it will take place following the third and deciding game of the series scheduled in Cape Town on Saturday.

“Match officials are the backbone of the sport, and without them there is no game,” the World Rugby statement read.

“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 [regulations] and will now be considered by an independent disciplinary panel.”