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
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
“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.