Rassie Erasmus suspended by World Rugby again over social media rants | South Africa rugby team

Rassie Erasmus has been banned for two matches by World Rugby and will miss South Africa’s visit to Twickenham next Saturday following a series of social media posts which included implicit criticism of Wayne Barnes’ refereeing performance.

Erasmus posted a number of videos highlighting decisions made by Barnes in the Springboks’ narrow defeat by France last week accompanied by sarcastic comments. He did similar after South Africa’s defeat by Ireland, continuing his tendency to air grievances publicly rather than privately with World Rugby.

The Springboks director of rugby has only recently returned to matchday activities after a 12-month ban for the hour-long video he released during the 2021 British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa in which he forensically criticised the performance of the Australian referee Nic Berry.

His latest social media posts have prompted World Rugby to act again, meaning Erasmus is banned from all matchday activities for Saturday’s fixture against Italy as well as South Africa’s trip to Twickenham seven days later. He is also suspended from “engagement with media and social media in relation to match officials”.

A World Rugby statement read: “Match officials are the backbone of the sport and without them there is no game. World Rugby condemns any public criticism of match official selection, performance or integrity, which undermines their role, the trust-based coach/match officials feedback process and the values of integrity, respect, solidarity and discipline that are at the heart of the sport. The behaviour of coaching staff and match officials are widely observed by fans, media and participants at every level, and such behaviours affect how the values are applied across the game.”

Among the incidents highlighted by Erasmus was one involving France’s Thomas Ramos handing off Cheslin Kolbe with a forearm to the face as well as Willie le Roux being penalised for a forward pass. Alongside it he wrote: “I know guys and accept it, we really only have ourselves to blame as the French were awsome [sic] both on the field (players) and off the field (supporters)!! We just have to fix these fundamental errors like tackle technique and simple passing. Sorry SA we know.”