Boks in UK

Boks must pull up socks

2013-11-12 22:15
Francois Louw (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - The Springboks' must improve their discipline and clean up their image if they want to shed their tag as the 'thugs' of world rugby.

Last weekend, Francois Louw's yellow card for an elbow to Wales hooker Richard Hibbard brought the Springboks' game-to-card ratio to 80% - they are averaging almost a yellow card every game.

The Springboks have received an unprecedented eight yellow cards in just ten games in 2013.

That means they have played most of their games in 2013 with 15 men for only 70 minutes of the game, despite losing only to the All Blacks during 2013.

Earlier this year, Romain Poite was put through the wringer by the South African public and media after he sent off Bismarck du Plessis after awarding the Springbok hooker two yellow cards, the first of which proved to be unjustified after Du Plessis made a fair tackle on All Black pivot Dan Carter.

Some have occasionally painted the the Springboks as the victims of bad refereeing decisions, but the team have done themselves no favours by racking up a succession of citings and yellow cards, causing one Australian pundit to call the Boks brand of rugby 'thugby' during this year's Rugby Championship.

Although Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer and captain Jean de Villiers' diplomacy has done much to heal the damage that was done to the Springbok image in the wake of the 'Justice 4 Bakkies' and Schalk Burger eye-gouging 'Tutu scandal' where a laager mentality prevailed under Peter De Villiers during the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa in 2009, the Springboks have continued to churn out yellow cards with alarming regularity.

This trend is nothing new - in 2010 the Boks topped the table of the most poorly disciplined rugby nations.

As Bakkies Botha, a man who many perceive to be the Springboks' dirtiest player, seems poised to make his return to the Springbok starting team this weekend against Scotland, it is worth noting that even in his absence the team's discipline has not improved.

Cards received by the Springboks in 2013:

Boks vs Italy in Durban - Bjorn Basson - yellow, high tackle
Boks vs Samoa in Pretoria - Bryan Habana - yellow, deliberate knock down
Wallabies v Boks in Brisbane - Willem Alberts - yellow, deliberate knock down
All Blacks v Boks in Auckland - Bismarck du Plessis - yellow,  tackle without arms*
All Blacks v Boks in Auckland - Bismarck du Plessis - 2nd yellow, leading with the elbow
Boks v Wallabies in Cape Town - Flip van der Merwe - yellow, elbow to the face
Boks v Wallabies in Cape Town - Duane Vermeulen - yellow, deliberate knock down
Wales v Boks in Cardiff - Francois Louw - yellow, elbow to the face

*Bismarck du Plessis was cited but later cleared of all charges

Read more on:    springboks  |  boks on tour  |  rugby

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