Referee Nic Berry, who was the official on the other end of Rassie Erasmus’ online tirade during the Lions series, has stated that immeasurable damage has been caused.
The world cup winning coach 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.
Erasmus was today banned from all rugby activities for 2 months and all matchday activities for a year, while SA rugby were also fined and also received a warning.
In the 80-page written judgement accompanying the outcome, the committee highlighted the human cost of the episode to Nic Berry, the referee who was Erasmus’ main target.
The committee said it was impressed by Berry’s “quiet dignity, humility, and the restraint he showed during his evidence” and acknowledged the “profound effect” the episode had on him.
“Needless to say, the whole situation has been an extremely difficult time for my family and I,” Berry said.
“The public attack on my integrity and character is not something that should be tolerated in any workplace.
“I feel that Mr Erasmus engaged in a character assassination of me on social media. I have spent many years trying to build my reputation as an international referee and in the course of his video which was posted online, Mr Erasmus has caused it immeasurable damage.
“My reputation throughout the rugby community has suffered immeasurably. His actions are against everything our game stands for and I feel it’s important to take a stand against such behaviour.”
Erasmus and SA Rugby have confirmed in a statement that they will appeal against the decisions.
“SA Rugby and Rassie Erasmus have noted the decision of World Rugby’s judicial committee,” the statement said.
“Both parties confirmed they will exercise their rights to appeal the verdicts. Neither party will make any further comment until the process is complete.”
- Suspension with immediate effect from all rugby activities for two months
- Suspension from all match-day activities (including coaching, contact with match officials, and media engagement) with immediate effect until 30 September, 2022
- A warning as to his future conduct and an apology to the relevant match officials.
- A fine of £20,000
- A warning as to future conduct and an apology to the relevant match officials