Rassie Erasmus has apologised to referee Nic Berry and withdrawn his appeal against his suspension for misconduct after issuing an hour-long video criticising the official over his handling of the first Lions Test last summer.

Following a hearing the South Africa director of rugby was suspended for two months from all rugby activity and until next September from match-day activities with the Springboks.

Last week former Munster boss Erasmus and the South African union, which was fined £20,000 and also ordered to apologise, indicated they would appeal the World Rugby independent committee's ruling.

However, an apology was posted on the SA Rugby website today.

"SA Rugby and Rassie Erasmus wish to apologise to the match officials appointed to the first Test of the Springboks’ Series against the British & Irish Lions," read the statement.

"We also confirm that SA Rugby and Erasmus have advised World Rugby that they withdraw their Notice of Appeal and will not lodge an appeal against the sanctions imposed by the Judicial Committee.

"This has been a highly stressful and charged environment with unusual pressures placed on all concerned and we have no wish to prolong that experience for anyone.

"We have drawn a line under the incident and only wish to look forward. We will respect the outcomes of the hearing, allowing our national teams and rugby operations to plan with clarity for the coming months."

The toxic process has stained all involved

World Rugby welcomed the withdrawal.

"SA Rugby and SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus have advised the independent misconduct committee and World Rugby that they have both withdrawn their notices of appeal to the misconduct decision and sanction issued by the independent disciplinary committee on 17 November 2021," it said.

"World Rugby welcomes the public apology from SA Rugby and Rassie Erasmus to the match officials involved in the first test between South Africa and the British and Irish Lions this year and the matter is closed."

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