Sort out foul play – Jean
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers has called on officials to ensure that they sort out the allegations of biting and eye-gouging from Saturday’s Castle Lager Rugby Championship test against Argentina in Mendoza.
Argentinian players Leonardo Senatore and Pablo Matera were cited for alleged biting and eye-gouging respectively and will face a Sanzar disciplinary hearing in the near future to find out their fates.
Sanzar confirmed to supersport.com that both players had declined a guilty plea as the judicial process allows, and will now head to a full disciplinary hearing to try and plead their cases, but on the evidence, it will be difficult as the citing officer deemed both cases to be “red card offences.”
The Boks were incensed when referee Steve Walsh refused to take action on Saturday ostensibly because his communication device with the television match official failed. And on arriving back in South Africa on Monday the captain repeated the call.
“These are things, I believe, which are not part of rugby and I would like them to be sorted out,” De Villiers said.
“At that stage, there had already been one incident where one of our players said there was a finger in his eye. Then Eben came with bite marks on his arm,” De Villiers said.
“Those are things that you don’t want to be sorted out afterwards – you want the benefit during the game.
“It is out of our hands now. I just tried to put pressure on him (Walsh) to take care of it on the field and, unfortunately, at that stage the lines of communications weren’t there.”
While no date for the hearing has been set, the news should come through in the next 24 hours. In view of the seriousness of the incidents, both players could face up to a year ban for their actions if found guilty.
Unfortunately the Boks will not get the benefit of the outcome as their two games against Argentina are a thing of the past, and the irony is that the All Blacks, who next face Argentina, may well benefit from the players’ absence.
But it is easy to see the Bok captain’s frustration, as in the June test against Samoa they had to endure one player “ball tampering” with Adriaan Strauss’s private parts, an indiscretion which wasn’t even cited at the time.