South African Rugby Union President Oregan Hoskins and Springbok coach Peter de Villiers have both apologised for comments in the wake of Saturday’s Test against the British & Irish Lions that appeared to give the impression that the organisation condoned eye gouging.
SARU President Oregan Hoskins and South Africa coach Peter de Villiers jointly condemned all acts of foul play and sent out a clear message that such acts would not be tolerated in South African rugby and fell outside the spirit as well as the letter of the laws of the game of rugby.
Oregan Hoskins said: “We would like to apologise to the rugby community for the erroneous impression that acts of foul play are in any way condoned by South African rugby.
“That has never been the case and is not now, and we support strong action by rugby authorities when such acts occur.
“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 feels appropriate to stamp out eye-gouging in the game.”
Peter de Villiers added that as Springbok coach 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.
“The same applies to biting, head-butting, spear tackling or any other foul play that doesn’t belong in the game.
“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 apologise for creating any other impression.”
South Africa flanker Burger picked up an eight-week suspension after he was found guilty of ‘making contact with the face in the eye area’ of British and Irish Lions winger Luke Fitzgerald during the opening minute of Saturday’s game.