Rugby Championship

Jean: No place for foul players

2013-08-26 16:00
Jean de Villiers (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - There is no place for foul play in rugby, Springbok captain Jean de Villiers said on his arrival from Argentina, at OR Tambo in Johannesburg on Monday.

VIDEO: Etzebeth biting incident

VIDEO: Eye gouge on Francois Louw

"These are things, I believe, which are not part of rugby and I would like them to be sorted out," De Villiers said.

Two Argentinean players, Leonardo Senatore and Pablo Matera, were cited for alleged biting and eye-gouging incidents during their Rugby Championship match in Mendoza over the weekend.

The first incident occurred 45 minutes into the encounter, which the Springboks won by a shaky 22-17, when Bok flank Francois Louw claimed Matera had made contact with his eye.

However, television match official (TMO) Marshall Kilgore could not find any evidence of the incident at the time.

A furious Eben Etzebeth then told referee Steve Walsh that Senatore had bitten him on the arm.

When De Villiers asked Walsh to refer the bite incident to the TMO, the referee could not make contact with the television official.

"At that stage, there had already been one incident where one of our players said there was a finger in his eye. Then Eben came with bite marks on his arm," De Villiers said.

"Those are things that you don't want to be sorted out afterwards - you want the benefit during the game.

"It is out of our hands now. I just tried to put pressure on him (Walsh) to take care of it on the field and, unfortunately, at that stage the lines of communications weren't there."

De Villiers said while they were disappointed with their below-par performance, it would serve as a wake-up call ahead of their tour of Australasia.

"It is important for us to put everything in perspective and see that we still have a lot to do, to get to where we want to be," he said.

"There is still a lot of hard work ahead of us. We get together again on Thursday and we will be preparing well for the trip abroad."

The Springboks made too many errors, he said, while Argentina also denied them of quick ball to attack from.

"The ambition was there for us to play a bit of rugby but there were too many handling errors, and too many mistakes at the breakdown.

"From their part, they slowed the game down -- the ball was maybe only 29 minutes in play and that is not a lot of rugby. It was stop-start all the time."

It may not have the best of games, but it was, nevertheless, the Boks' eighth victory on the trot and their first away triumph in the competition since 2009.

In the corresponding match last year, the Springboks got out of jail in Mendoza with a 16-16 draw against Argentina.

"It shows progress in the way we adapted in the end although it was disappointing, from a team point of view, the way we played," he said.

"But to get a different and positive result this time around means the team showed character and proved we are growing as a team."

The Springbok squad will assemble in Johannesburg on Thursday ahead of their third match in the championship against Australia in Brisbane next Saturday.


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