The International Rugby Board has warned players and coaches not to criticise match officials in public at international level.
IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset issued a letter to unions reminding them of their responsibility to uphold the sport's values of discipline, integrity and respect when it comes to comments on match official performance.
In line with Regulation 20 and the IRB Code of Conduct, unions have been reminded that any published criticism of match officials or comments that demonstrate the potential to bring the Game into disrepute will be investigated and addressed by the tournament organiser and, as appropriate, the IRB.
Lapasset said: "Rugby values its culture of respect for the opposition and match officials, which is at the very heart of the Game, but there has been a slow increase in the level and intensity of public criticism of match officials and their performances from coaches and players.
"Match officials, like players, do make mistakes, but it is important that we work with our Unions to ensure that match official performance is discussed within the appropriate and established framework for feedback and appraisal that operates between coaches, match officials and the IRB.
"We would like to thank our Unions and international tournament organisers for their full commitment and collaboration."
With thanks to the IRB