Cape Town — World Rugby have flexed their muscles and banned Springbok Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus for two Tests for his recent social media posts about several vital incidents in the Ireland and France encounters.
In a statement on Thursday evening, the sport's governing body said that Erasmus will not be allowed to participate in the match-day activities or speak to the media for the final two Bok games on their end-of-year tour against Italy in Genoa on Saturday, as well as next weekend's clash against England in London.
This is the second time Erasmus has been sanctioned after he was banned from all rugby activities for two months for his infamous 62-minute video about the performance of Australian referee Nic Berry in the first British & Irish Lions Test in Cape Town last year.
That suspension also kept him out of the Bok match-day activities until the current end-of-year tour.
Erasmus was asked earlier this week in a press conference about whether he was concerned that World Rugby may ban him again, following a series of tweets and videos about critical moments in the defeats to Ireland and France.
The 50-year-old former loose forward, though, was adamant that his posts were not directed at the match officials and any errors they may have made, but rather that he wanted the Bok players to improve and learn from their mistakes.
But on Thursday, World Rugby stated: "World Rugby has reviewed the recent social media posts by SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus that relate to match officiating in the Autumn Nations Series.
"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.
"In addition, under the Match Officials Communication Framework, national teams have the ability to enter into a confidential feedback process, which is critical for success in a high-performance environment.
"The success of these communications relies on direct and honest feedback, which is delivered and received in a confidential way.
"In line with the Framework, World Rugby has the ability to impose a sanction where a breach has occurred.
"Having considered the matter, World Rugby has issued a two-match ban against Rassie Erasmus, and accordingly, he may not take part in any match-day activity in relation to the two upcoming Test matches that South Africa has against Italy on 19 November, 2022 and England on 26 November, 2022.
"The ban includes engagement with media and social media in relation to match officials."
Earlier on Thursday evening, before World Rugby’s statement was issued, Erasmus posted screenshots of his previous tweets with the caption: "Like myself, the referee of the French test (Wayne Barnes) & his family have received threats & abuse.
"Apparently it’s partly due to my tweets, which is totally unfounded.Tweets were not aimed at the officials,but to our 🇿🇦fans on what we should do better. Have a go at me not the ref!!"