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Wayne Barnes Twickenham celebration during England vs South Africa CANCELLED amid Rassie Erasmus fallout

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 11/26/2022 Nick Purewal
waynebarnes26112022A.jpg © Getty Images waynebarnes26112022A.jpg

Fears over crowd abuse have seen a celebration of Wayne Barnes’ 100-Test refereeing career cancelled at Twickenham.

Barnes was due to be presented to the crowd at half-time of England’s Autumn Nations Series clash with South Africa.

But the continued fallout from Rassie Erasmus’ social media criticism of officials led to the celebratory event being shelved.

South Africa rugby director Erasmus was conspicuous by his absence at Twickenham for the final Test of the autumn, with the Springboks chief completing his two-game suspension from matchday activities.

Erasmus hit out at Barnes’ officiating in South Africa’s 30-26 defeat by France in Paris on November 12, where Pieter-Steph du Toit was rightly red carded.

The former Springboks No 8 served a two-month matchday activity suspension after the 2021 Lions tour, and continues to feel the wrath of governing body World Rugby.

English referee Barnes has suffered death threats to him and his family off the back of the South African response to his officiating in Paris.

The South African Rugby Union kept its counsel on the matter until the hours before kick-off at Twickenham, at which point releasing a short statement.

“World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin and World Rugby director of rugby Phil Davies met with South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus on Thursday and held positive discussions regarding recent events and match official communications on general,” read the SARU statement.

“Views were exchanged resulting in a better understanding of the respective positions.

“There was agreement that further dialogue was needed in terms of enhancing the process that operates between teams and match officials to ensure all can play their part in creating great spectacles and avoid frustration but in a way that underpins the respect for match officials, coaches and players.

“Further dialgoue will continue after today’s final Springbok Test of the year.”

RFU bosses are understood to have written to their South African counterparts asking for answers over the Erasmus issue.

English chiefs have received assurances from South Africa that the matter is in hand, but whether Erasmus will cut out the social media criticism in future remains to be seen.

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