South Africans Robbie Kempson and Bakkies Botha were both cited after their Tri-Nations defeat as the Springboks were branded a "disgrace to international rugby".
South Africans Robbie Kempson and Bakkies Botha were both cited after their Tri-Nations defeat as the Springboks were branded a "disgrace to international rugby". Amid post-match exchanges every bit as fierce as the brutal battle on the Suncorp Stadium field, furious Australia coach Eddie Jones accused the Springboks of biting, spitting and eye-gouging. It was a typically fierce encounter, full of bone crunching defence, but Kempson was charged with a late and high tackle that left Toutai Kefu in hospital with suspected spinal injuries. Botha, a replacement forward, will face the hearing charged with "attacking the face of an opponent" during Australia's 29-9 victory. Last year's meeting in Perth descended into a slugfest as frustrations boiled over amid a flurry of yellow cards and, in the build-up to this weekend's clash, the Springboks had promised another physical contest. Joe van Niekerk stoked the fires by declaring he "was just looking forward to getting stuck into a few Wallabies" - and, according to the Wallabies, that is just what happened. "The intent was there," said Jones. "They spoke about it during the week. It wasn't just the shot on Kefu. There were a number of other incidents. A player's eyes were gouged. There was spitting out there. "It's a tactic, a deliberate tactic. History shows it. They talked about it during the week. Why else would you talk about it? "It is really a disgrace for international rugby. It puts a slur on the whole game and it needs to be rubbed out. You can't have those sort of incidents in Test football. That sort of rubbish shouldn't go on." Jones slammed the example set by South African captain Corne Krige, a ruthless blind-side flanker with a reputation for pushing the boundaries. He led South Africa's assault on England at Twickenham last November that led to Jannes Labuschagne being sent off and the Springboks capitulating to a record defeat. "He was involved in a number of unsavoury incidents and I think he needs
to have a look at his position as an international footballer," said Jones. Australia hooker Brendan Cannon claimed he was forced to retaliate after being bitten on the shoulder during the match. "The subsequent retaliation from the South African player was putting his fingers in both my eyes, which was a pretty frightening experience," he said, believed to be the incident for which Botha was cited. "They weren't positive, they were playing the player," said Australia captain George Gregan. "They were spitting at people. They don't go out to play and it's consistent. Take a look at games with incidents, especially over the last two years and there has been one common denominator - it's them." But Springboks coach Rudolf Straeuli, who was forced to give his squad a dressing down after the Twickenham match, bristled at the accusations and asked for proof. "If they make those allegations they have got to back it up, not just at a press conference," he said. "I would never ask my players to play like that. There were no instructions to play dirty." Danie Coetzee and Kempson were both sin-binned during the match, but went for professional fouls unrelated to the cited incidents. Spending 20 minutes down to 14 men, and with a seven-man pack, was too much for the Springboks. Their destructive defence held Australia at bay in the first half but Elton Flatley's 100% kicking performance and second-half tries by Mat Rogers and man of the match Phil Waugh sealed the Wallabies' first win of the series. How costly it was remains to be seen, with Jones keeping a close eye on the results of tests on Kefu, who was stretchered off the field, his head in a brace, complaining of pins and needles in his arms and legs.
Five Irish sporting legends - Sonia O'Sullivan, Tony McCoy, Barry McGuigan, Henry Shefflin and Niall Quinn - visited Ireland camp on Wednesday evening for a memorable get-together with the squad. Ireland team manager Michael Kearney fills us in.
Speaking ahead of Ireland's crunch clash with France, scrum half Eoin Reddan said: "Everyone trained very hard today. Obviously we've a huge game at the weekend. We're all in no doubt about how much it means to people back home, and how much it means to us here."
Ireland prop Mike Ross talks about the preparations for Sunday's showdown with France. He also noted there is very little between the two teams at present, mentioning Ireland's 2014 and 2015 wins but also the fact that France have 'a much better World Cup record than we do.'
Looking forward to Ireland's Pool D decider with France next Sunday, hooker Sean Cronin said: "There's a great buzz around the squad. These big games are what you look forward to when it comes to World Cup time."
The gym isn't just about lifting weights, and different players require different loads depending on the training programmes. Strength and conditioning coach John Kiely and Iain Henderson talk us through today's session at Celtic Manor.
Iain Henderson feels this is 'more than likely the best Ireland team ever to compete in a World Cup'. "If we get all our stuff right, our set piece, and get some good counter attack, I don't see any reason why we can't turn the French over," he said, speaking ahead of Sunday's Pool D decider.
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt announces the team to play Italy in the Rugby World Cup on Sunday and gives an update on the fitness of Jared Payne and Rob Kearney. Jonathan Sexton also talks about playing with a new centre pairing.
Ireland team manager Michael Kearney says Robbie Henshaw has trained fully this week and is available for selection for the Italy game. Meanwhile, the injuries sustained by Rob Kearney (glute strain) and Jared Payne (bruised foot) are being monitored.
Plyometrics, movement speed work, jump work and some heavy loaded lifting - all in a day's work for the Ireland squad as they hit the gym at Surrey Sports Park today. Strength and conditioning coach Jason Cowman and Ireland centre Darren Cave talk us through the session.
Ireland team manager Michael Kearney talks about the incredible atmosphere created by the Ireland fans for the Canada game and looks forward to a similar backing for Joe Schmidt's men against Romania at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.