Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has apologised over his outburst following his team’s 29-28 loss to Wales while World Rugby has issued him and Rugby Australia with a written warning.
The gentlemanly Rennie was left seething over what he called “horrendous” officiating in Saturday’s defeat in Cardiff that completed the Wallabies’ winless tour to Europe.
He was particularly critical of a decision by the Scottish referee Mike Adamson to award a try to Welshman Nick Tomkins off what he considered a deliberate knock on – having already seen his fullback Kurtley Beale sin-binned for a similar offence.
And he also took aim at South African TMO Marius Jonker, criticising him for his part in the two Australia defeats against Scotland and Wales.
It left World Rugby issuing a written warning to both the Australian governing body and Rennie on Friday.
The governing body said that rugby was based on “trust and respect” and Rennie’s comments were “clearly not aligned with these values”.
Rugby Australia issued a short statement saying: “Dave Rennie wishes to apologise to the match officials and to World Rugby for the choice of language used in post-match media commitments following the Wallabies Test match against Wales in Cardiff.
“The choice of language and its timing did not meet the standards required from a coach or official in upholding Rugby’s core values of discipline, integrity and respect.”
It said Rugby Australia and Rennie accepted the formal warning issued by World Rugby.
The apology was a marked turnaround from Rennie’s stance last weekend when he was adamant he’d done the right thing in speaking out straight after the game.
“How do I support our team, by biting my lip and us getting apologies?” he said then.
“It doesn’t change the result. It was important I spoke my mind, I’ve been a coach for 20 years and have never had a crack at the referee or referee group, but felt I had to do that tonight.
“I am not emotional, not overreacting, it’s important to state our feelings.”
World Rugby responded to the Rennie apology, saying: “Match officials are the backbone of the sport, and without them there is no game.
“World Rugby condemns any public criticism of their selection, performance or integrity which undermines or threatens their role, the trust-based coach-officials feedback process, and more importantly, the values that are at the heart of the sport and must be upheld.”
Rennie’s apology comes the day after South Africa’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus withdrew his appeal against a two-month ban and apologised to Nic Berry for his video criticism of the Australian referee following the first Test against the British & Irish Lions in July.