World Rugby can confirm that it has issued a written warning to Rugby Australia and Rugby Australia’s men’s 15s head coach Dave Rennie for comments made immediately after Australia’s final Autumn Nations Series match against Wales in Cardiff on 20 November.
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.
Davie Rennie and Rugby Australia have issued the following statement: "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.
"Rugby Australia and Dave Rennie accept the formal warning issued by World Rugby.”
While the comments made by Rennie in the post-match broadcast and media conference environments immediately after the Wales game are clearly not aligned with these values, the prompt, proactive and meaningful apology by Rennie and Rugby Australia is welcomed.
Rugby is a sport that operates on trust and respect, and recent events have unfortunately placed the confidential, trust-based coach-match officials communication and feedback process under pressure.
World Rugby, with the full support of its Executive Committee and the wider game, is fully committed to reinforcing an environment that supports and protects match officials, while providing an appropriate feedback process. To that end, a review of the process is already underway, consulting with match officials, coaches and unions. In addition, the protocols and behaviours relating to team support staff, including water carriers, will be reviewed at the same time.