The South African Rugby Union (SARU) have been fined £10,000 for bringing the game into disrepute.
There are those amongst us who believe that the South Africans’ very presence on the field brings the game into disrepute.
The Boks were penalised for wearing armbands in protest at Bakkies Botha’s suspension during the July 4 Test match against the Lions in Pretoria. Botha was done for charging into Lions prop Adam Jones, who left the field with a dislocated shoulder and the Welshman is expected to be out of the game for another four months as a result of the injury.
The Boks lock was handed a two weeks ban following the incident.
Subsequently, the South African team wore white armbands saying, “Justice 4” in reference to Botha’s number in the final game of the series.
SARU must cough up the 10 grand and the players, including I presume, Munste new signing, Jean De Villiers, must pay £200 each, except for their vociferous captain John Smit, who has to fork out £1,000. However, the International Rugby Board (IRB) has expressed its disappointment at the weak level of punishment in the ruling delivered by the independent disciplinary committee, which is a feature of the IRB justice system,
It is understood that the IRB are considering whether to bring an appeal against the levels of sanctions imposed. Moreover, it was noted that there was no formal apology, acknowledgement, contrition or clarification from either the players or the SARU themselves in relation to the incident.
However, the Lions are sympathetic to the Boks’ plight and reckon Botha was harshly treated. Lions assistant coach Warren Gatland said after the game concerned: From our point of view we don’t have an issue with Bakkies.
We thought it was a very tough decision on him. Adam Jones didn’t have a problem with it and none of the Lions management had an issue with that clean out.
So were the Boks hard done by? After all, fining people for cleaning out in rugby is a bit like handing out tickets for speeding at a Formula One race. It’s a contact sport. To paraphrase Ricky Hatton, “It’s not a tickling competition.”
And why all this animosity toward the Boks? Limerick, New Zealand, Wales and South Africa, the current World champions and a damn fine rugby team, are the spiritual homes of the game.
But while we all tend to be lyrical about the exploits of the wonderful All-Blacks, who, of course, we are leading 31-21 on aggregate over three legs since the 3-3 draw in 1973, everyone seems to hate the Boks.
Is it cos they is white?
Meantime, what of our own Bok, de Villiers, who is now officially a Limerick man of course. How will he be able to afford the 200 quid seeing as Munster are paying him only $350,000 a year. I can just see him now selling copies of the Big Issues.
Perhaps we should have a whip-round for him. A charity night. Maybe Adam Jones would do MC.
On a more serious note, there seems to be more than a passing danger that deVilliers could turn out to be the new Christian Cullen, and folks in Munster ain’t too happy about the possibility.