Springboks coach Peter de Villiers and his bosses at South Africa Rugby have apologized for his apparent acceptance that Schalk Burger’s eye gouging of Lions winger Luke Fitzgerald was just part of the game.
Burger was banned for eight weeks after being shown a yellow card and sinbinned during South Africa’s 28-25 victory over the British and Irish Lions in Pretoria on Saturday. Although many observers believed the back row star should have been sent off for the rest of the game, the often outspoken De Villiers said he didn’t think even a yellow card was warranted.
“I don’t think it was a card at all,” De Villiers said. “There was a lot of needle and, if you dissect the whole game, you will see yellow cards that were missed.”
Burger was seen to put his hand onto Fitzgerald’s face during a ruck only 32 seconds into the game. The linesman spotted the incident and reported it to referee Christophe Berdos who showed Burger a yellow card, which meant a 10-minute spot in the sinbin rather than being sent off for the rest of the game.
On Monday De Villiers said that efforts to take the physical elements out of the game might turn rugby into some kind of ballet.
“Why don’t we all go to the nearest ballet shop, get some nice tutus and get some great dancing going on. No eye-gouging, no tackling, no nothing. Then enjoy,” De Villiers told reporters.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) issued a statement on Monday in which both De Villiers and SARU president Oregan Hoskins apologized that the coach’s comments suggested they condoned serious foul play.
“We would like to apologize to the rugby community for the erroneous impression that acts of foul play are in any way condoned by South African rugby,” Hoskins said.”
“Rugby is a physical game and a hard game but it is a game that rightly prides itself on good sportsmanship and we as SARU categorically condemn any such action. SARU fully supports any action that the IRB [International Rugby Board] feels appropriate to stamp out eye gouging in the game,” he said.
De Villiers said in the same statement that he stood against play that was not in the spirit of the game.
“Eye-gouging is something that we, as a team, will never be part of,” he said.
“My comments on Saturday were based on what I know of Schalk Burger as a player and not on what occurred. It was never my intention to suggest that I condone foul play. That is the last thing I would ever do and I apologize for creating any other impression,” De Villiers said.
Meanwhile, the ’Boks are to appeal the two-week ban Bakkies Botha received for a dangerous charge on Adam Jones in Pretoria.
Botha left Jones with a dislocated shoulder that needed surgery ruling him out of Saturday’s third and final Test in Johannesburg.
Springbok assistant coach Dick Muir said yesterday that the South African coaching staff had seen nothing untoward in Botha’s charge.
South Africa will not, however, be appealing Burger’s ban.
In other news the Lions suffered a setback ahead of the third Test when Brian O’Driscoll was ruled out with concussion. The Irishman suffered a clash of heads with Danie Rossouw on Saturday and will travel home today.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two