Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
18 Nov 2021
8:19 am

Boks snubbed in awards, Rassie banned — and England await at Twickenham

Ross Roche

The director of rugby as well as his employers have said they will appeal the judgements handed down by World Rugby.

Rassie Erasmus, the director of rugby in South Africa, fulfilled waterboy duties during the Lions tour. Picture: Picture: EJ Langner/Gallo Images

SA Rugby and the organisation’s Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus will fight the sentence handed down to them by World Rugby on Wednesday evening.

An independent misconduct committee found that the behaviour of Erasmus towards match officials, in a 62-minute video which was leaked to the public, during the British and Irish Lions series constituted misconduct and suspended him from all rugby activities for two months with immediate effect, while also fining SA Rugby.

However the organisation responded in a short press release soon after the verdict was released stating:

“SA Rugby and Rassie Erasmus have noted the decision of World Rugby’s judicial committee. Both parties confirmed they will exercise their rights to appeal the verdicts. Neither party will make any further comment until the process is complete.”

ALSO READ: World Rugby suspend Rassie Erasmus, fine SA Rugby

It remains to be seen whether the appeal will allow Erasmus to be in the coaching box, or on the sidelines, for the Springboks’ final end-of-year-tour match against England on Saturday or if he may choose to voluntarily step away from the squad to take the spotlight off them ahead of the important match.

The handing down of the verdict comes at a difficult time for the Boks with them in the middle of their preparation week for Saturday’s game at Twickenham, in a repeat of the 2019 World Cup final, however it could galvanise the team and inspire them to a massive performance against England.

It has been a tough week for the side with them also being snubbed by the World Rugby awards committee with no player or coach being selected in their respective year categories.

The verdict released by World Rugby against Erasmus and SA Rugby was decided by a committee chaired by Christopher Quinlan QC (UK), together with Nigel Hampton QC and Judge Mike Mika (both New Zealand).

In all six charges were brought by World Rugby against Erasmus for various breaches of World Rugby’s Regulation 18 and code of conduct,  while two charges were brought against SA Rugby in accordance with the same regulation and code of conduct.

After considering all the evidence from match officials, Erasmus, SA Rugby, World Rugby and submissions from the parties, the committee subsequently found Erasmus guilty on all six charges, while finding SA Rugby guilty on the first charge.

The verdict handed down sees Erasmus suspended with immediate effect from all rugby activities for two months, which includes all match-day activities, coaching, contact with match officials, and media engagements until 30 September 2022.

A warning as to his future conduct and an apology to the relevant match officials was also asked for by the committee.

The verdict against SA Rugby saw a fine of £20 000 and a warning as to future conduct and an apology to the relevant match officials.

The parties were then given seven days to appeal from receipt of the full written decision, which they indicated they would immediately do.