South Africa DoR and SA Rugby have also withdrawn their appeals following misconduct decision

Rassie Erasmus apologises to Nic Berry and first Test match officials

South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and SA Rugby have issued a public apology to referee Nic Berry and the officiating team for the first Test of the British & Irish Lions series against the Springboks.

They have also withdrawn their appeals against the sanctions handed out last week following a misconduct hearing.

Erasmus posted an hour-long video criticising Berry’s decisions during the first Test and was found guilty on six counts of misconduct by an independent committee. Erasmus was banned from rugby for two months. In addition, he cannot participate in match-day activities until 30 September 2022 and SA Rugby were fined £20,000.

An SA Rugby statement read: “SA Rugby and Rassie Erasmus wish to apologise to the match officials appointed to the first Test of the Springboks’ Series against the British & Irish Lions.

“This has been a highly stressful and charged environment with unusual pressures placed on all concerned and we have no wish to prolong that experience for anyone.

“We have drawn a line under the incident and only wish to look forward. We will respect the outcomes of the hearing, allowing our national teams and rugby operations to plan with clarity for the coming months.”

World Rugby stated: “World Rugby welcomes the public apology from SA Rugby and Rassie Erasmus to the match officials involved in the first Test between South Africa and the British & Irish Lions this year and the matter is closed.”

Referee Berry had outlined the distress caused and damage inflicted upon his reputation during the misconduct hearing.

“I have spent many years trying to build my reputation as an international referee. In the course of his video which was posted online, Mr Erasmus has caused it immeasurable damage,” he said.

“I felt that Mr Erasmus’s video brought into question my professionalism and my integrity as a match official. There was an inference to be drawn that I was in some way cheating as an official, which is obviously completely untrue.

“My reputation throughout the rugby community has suffered immeasurably from his actions. I acknowledge that the impending investigation will likely lead to more public scrutiny and unwanted media attention.

“However, his actions are against everything our game stands for. I feel it’s important to take a stand against such behaviour.”

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