Director of Rugby in South Africa, Rassie Erasmus, will immediately start serving his two month suspension from the game and will not be able to be a part of the Springboks’ final end-of-year-tour match against England despite a pending appeal on the outcome of his misconduct case.
After World Rugby delivered their damning verdict on Erasmus and SA Rugby in relation to the 62-minute video he made criticising the performance of referee Nic Berry in the first British and Irish Lions Test, both parties in a joint statement indicated they would exercise their right to appeal.
However according to World Rugby regulations, Erasmus will still have to serve his ban until the appeal is heard.
According to regulation 18.11.8 of World Rugby’s code of conduct:
In the event of an appeal against the decision of a Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer with respect to Misconduct, the sanction, if any, imposed by the Judicial Committee or Judicial Officer shall apply until the case has been dealt with by an Appeal Committee or Appeal Officer.
Erasmus will thus not be able to attend to any rugby duties until the appeal is heard, which should be held as soon as possible.
In terms of when the appeal will take place, regulation 18.11.6 states:
The appeal shall be heard as soon as reasonably practicable. The appeal shall be dealt with in the most convenient location having regard to the Player(s), Person(s) or other party(ies) involved. It need not take place in the country in which the Misconduct occurred. This will be determined by the appointed Appeal Committee Chair or Appeal Officer in consultation with the Host Union or Tournament Organiser or World Rugby (as appropriate).
In regards to who will hear the appeal, regulation 18.11.7 says:
The Appeal Committee or Appeal Officer shall determine the basis on which the appeal shall proceed, including the standard of review. The general procedures relating to hearings before Appeal Committees and Appeal Officers contained in Regulation 20 shall apply to any matter arising under this Regulation.
With this weekend’s match being the last for the Springboks until the Incoming Tour in mid-year 2022, the impact will not really be felt by the team and could in fact have a galvanising effect on the players which could see them head into the England match this weekend a lot more fired up than they would have been.
However, Erasmus will be unable to do any of his SA Rugby related duties, with the local franchises set to continue their United Rugby Championship campaign’s from next week, until his appeal is heard or his suspension comes to an end.