Lions in SA
Boks protest Bakkies ban
Johannesburg - Springboks players in the third and final Test won 28-9 by the British and Irish Lions on Saturday wore armbands in protest at the suspension of lock Bakkies Botha for an alleged dangerous charge in the second Test.
Botha was banned for two weeks for the second-half charge on Adam Jones in the Pretoria Test last weekend that left the Welsh prop needing corrective surgery to right a dislocated shoulder.
The Springbok and Lions coaching staff, as well as Jones, have insisted that they saw nothing untoward in the second-rower's charge, arguing he had merely been clearing a ruck.
"As a sign of solidarity the Springbok players decided to wear white arm bands during the Test match," said Piet Heymans, head of the South African Rugby Players Association (SARPA).
"At the same time the players want to send a clear message that they require the IRB to have an urgent and serious relook at Law 10.4 (j)."
Heymans said Springbok players were concerned at the inconsistency in refereeing the ruck area.
"Over an extended period of time numerous other players have charged into rucks without binding but were either not penalised at all or received only a penalty," he said.
"Bakkies hit a ruck just before this one in question in a similar style and was not penalised. Coaches are coaching players to hit rucks in this manner and therefore this is a major cause of apprehension."
Heymans added: "Rugby as a spectacle will lose its excitement and appeal if the best players in the world are not sure how the laws will be applied and that their participation in world class rugby could be affected by the actions of judicial officers.
"We will be consulting with our legal team next week to consider all our legal options available to assist Bakkies Botha and provide him with a sense of justice as he has suffered significantly due to this suspension."