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Rassie Erasmus to face misconduct hearing over criticism of refereeing in first Lions test

Rassie Erasmus and SA Rugby will face an independent misconduct hearing after the South African director of rugby publicly criticised the performance of referee Nic Berry following his side’s first Test defeat to the Lions.

rasmus filmed a video of himself, which ran for over an hour, as he questioned Berry’s decision-making, as well claiming that the ref had failed to show the same level of respect for South African captain Siya Kolisi, who later backed up the claims.

Erasmus has also been extremely vocal on Twitter, as he looks to get his point across to World Rugby and its officiating.

The former Munster boss’ controversial actions overshadowed the build-up to last weekend’s second Test, which the Springboks won to level the Series heading into Saturday’s third Test decider.

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World Rugby have not stated when Erasmus’ and SA Rugby’s disciplinary hearing will take place, but it may not be before this weekend’s third Test.

The governing body were disappointed by Erasmus’ actions, while they also said they were “concerned” by individuals from both teams commenting on the performance of match officials.

The full statement from World Rugby read: “South Africa Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus and SA Rugby will face an independent misconduct hearing for comments regarding match official performance during the test series between South Africa and the British and Irish Lions.

“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.

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“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.”

A SA Rugby statement read: “SA Rugby has noted the charges brought by World Rugby and will respond through the designated channels.

“Media are advised that there will be no further comment from SA Rugby until the process is complete.”

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