Durban - Weak-willed World Rugby has given Wallabies coach Dave Rennie nothing more than a slap on the wrists for his scathing attack on the match officials after his team’s one-point loss to Wales a week ago.
Rennie, who also allegedly brought the game into disrepute when Australia hosted France in July, savaged referee Mike Adamson and TMO Marius Jonker after his team controversially lost 29-28 in Cardiff in part due to a red card and a try from an (illegal) slap down by the Welsh centre Nick Tomkins.
Rennie described the refereeing as “horrendous” and intimated that poor decisions had cost his team victory for two weeks in a row — the Wallabies also suffered an unfortunate red card against Scotland the week before when they also lost by a point, for which World Rugby issued an apology.
But Rennie’s rant has resulted in nothing more than a written warning from World Rugby, who a week before had thrown the book at SA Rugby director Rassie Erasmus.
In essence, what Erasmus said in his infamous video, was no worse than what Rennie said in his press conference at the Principality Stadium, and it makes no sense that one party received a two-month ban from all rugby and a matchday suspension until September 2022, and the other no more than a warning.
In July, Rennie accused the French players of actions “not in the spirit of the game” after Wallaby wing Marika Koroibete was harshly red-carded for a tackle on French captain Anthony Jelonch in a Test in Brisbane.
Rennie said of the incident: “It was terribly milked, wasn’t it. He (Jelonch) obviously feels he’s got some head contact and then he grabs his face, which was nowhere near the point of contact, and it is delayed by five seconds.
The furious coach then added: “Every time there is anything like a headshot, these guys (act like they) have been shot by a sniper,” Rennie said. “The issue for us is, do we get to the stage where we tell our players to lie on the ground like the French did every time there’s any head contact?”
But World Rugby seems to have forgotten this episode of Rennie bringing the game into disrepute just four months ago, and six days after his Cardiff attack on the refs, they have deemed a warning to be sufficient censure, which is hardly consistent with their treatment of Erasmus.
Both Rennie and Rugby Australia have responded to the warning by issuing an apology.
“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,” a statement read.
“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.”