British & Irish Lions

Sharks owners ready to assist Rassie, SA Rugby: 'I have team of New York lawyers ready'

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Rassie Erasmus. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Rassie Erasmus. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The US-based consortium which owns a majority stake in the Sharks franchise is ready to assist Rassie Erasmus and SA Rugby in a legal capacity.

This follows World Rugby's announcement that Erasmus and his governing body would face an independent misconduct hearing for comments he made on the performances of the match officials in the ongoing Springboks v British & Irish Lions series.

After South Africa's 22-17 loss in the first Test, Erasmus, SA Rugby's director of rugby, recorded a 62-minute video that leaked to social media in which he pointed out numerous errors made by Nic Berry, the Australian referee in charge of the match and South African television match official Marius Jonker.

World Rugby sanctions facing Erasmus and SA Rugby, if found guilty, range from possible reprimands, fines and even forfeiture of a match at the extreme end.

However Marco Masotti, who heads up MVM Holdings which owns a 51% stake in the Durban-based Sharks, says they will assist with legal help for Erasmus and SA Rugby if need be.

"I have a team of New York lawyers ready to take care of Rassie and SA Rugby. Let us put World Rugby on trial..." Masotti tweeted earlier on Wednesday.

Although the World Rugby law-book (under Regulation 19) is broad on the subject of misconduct, behaviour and bringing the game into disrepute, some of its harshest laws could concern both SA Rugby's director of rugby and the organisation he serves.

Should either or both be found guilty, Erasmus could lose his position at World Rugby's High-Performance 15s committee while SA Rugby could lose their rights to apply for future major tournaments, which include future Rugby World Cup tournaments.

Also on the extreme end, possible sanctions include cancellation of a result, the replaying of a match, as well as possible deduction or cancellation of points or suspension from tournaments.

EXCLUSIVE | SA Rugby set to defend itself, Rassie over World Rugby misconduct charges

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