South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has been suspended from all rugby activity for a period of two months, it was announced on Wednesday.
Six charges of misconduct against the Springbok boss were upheld after World Rugby responded to his behaviour towards match officials during the Springboks’ series win over the British and Irish Lions.
Erasmus is also banned from all match-day activities, including coaching and media duties, until September 30, 2022.
Not involved against England
It means the mastermind of South Africa’s 2019 Rugby World Cup triumph will play no part in Saturday’s clash with England at Twickenham.
Erasmus and SA Rugby, who also faced two charges, have confirmed in a statement that they will appeal against the decisions.
Erasmus used social media to highlight refereeing inconsistencies, starting with the Lions’ defeat to South Africa ‘A’, and after the first Test released an hour-long video critiquing the performance of the officials.
The charges upheld by an independent misconduct committee included attacking, disparaging and/or denigrating the game and match officials and not accepting the authority of match officials.
The first charge said that Erasmus threatened a match official that unless a requested meeting took place, he would publish footage containing clips criticising the match official’s performance and then made good on that threat.
Erasmus has also been given warning as to his future conduct and must apologise to the relevant match officials.
SA Rugby was charged with allowing Erasmus to commit acts of misconduct and for permitting captain Siya Kolisi and assistant coach Mzwandile Stick to make comments at a press conference on July 30 that were not “disciplined or sporting and adversely affected the game of rugby”.
Both counts were upheld by the independent misconduct committee, who fined the union £20,000, issued a warning over future conduct and ordered an apology be made to the relevant match officials.
South Africa number eight Duane Vermeulen is confident he will face a fit and fully firing Joe Marler when he takes on England in their Autumn Nations Series clash.
The Harlequins front-row missed last week’s impressive win over Australia after testing positive for Covid-19 and will only be able to leave quarantine this Friday.
Eddie Jones’ front-row stocks have been depleted by injury and Covid so Marler is set to be included on the bench or the starting XV when the team is revealed.