Rugby Australia has condemned the commentary from South Africa’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus surrounding the performance of Nic Berry.
On Thursday morning, a video of Erasmus highlighting in detail a number of officiating inconsistencies by Berry – an Australian referee – including instances where he felt officials showed the South Africans a lack of respect, went viral on social media.
The unprecedented move by Erasmus to publicly out officials followed in the wake of South Africa’s 22-17 defeat in the first Test against the Lions.
This has led to a response from RA, who labelled Erasmus’ actions ‘unacceptable’ in a statement released on Friday.
“Rugby Australia has noted with dismay and concern the recent public commentary by South African Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus, regarding Australian referee Nic Berry and other match officials,” the statement read.
“There is no place for abuse of match officials in Australian Rugby, with Rugby Australia committed to promoting a fair, safe and inclusive Rugby experience for all participants, officials and fans.”
RA CEO Andy Marinos confirmed they have taken the issue up with World Rugby as they continue to show support for Berry.
“Match officials form the very fabric of our game – simply, the game would not exist without them. As a highly regarded and respected international referee appointed by World Rugby, the attack on Nic’s integrity, character and reputation is unacceptable,” Marinos said.
“We have been in contact with World Rugby, under whose auspices this Test series sits, and understand that they are actively reviewing this matter as some facts presented were not accurate.
“It is important to ensure public attacks of this nature are not tolerated. We will continue to provide support to Nic at this time, as both his physical and mental wellbeing remains a priority for us.”
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