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    Potgieter fined for homophobic slur

    2015-03-23 11:19

    Sydney - Waratahs flank Jacques Potgieter was on Monday fined A$20 000 for uttering a homophobic slur during a weekend match against the Brumbies in Sydney, the Australian Rugby Union said.

    VIDEO: Watch as Brumbies flank David Pocock warns referee Craig Joubert about homophobic slurs

    The Waratahs said the South African had admitted using offensive language towards Brumbies players during Sunday's tie, with reports saying he called two different players a "faggot".

    "We take the issue of homophobia in sport seriously and want to provide a positive environment for everyone involved in rugby. Comments of this nature cannot be tolerated," said ARU chief executive Bill Pulver.

    The ARU said half of the fine for the breach of the ARU Code of Conduct, which bans homophobic or racist comments, was suspended but Potgieter must also undergo awareness education.

    The sanction was decided after the matter was referred to the ARU by South Africa, New Zealand and Australian Rugby (SANZAR) after a preliminary investigation.

    The ARU adopted an inclusion policy last year aimed at stamping out homophobia and discrimination in rugby.

    "Our inclusion policy reinforces Australian Rugby's commitment to ensure every individual, whether they're players, supporters, coaches or administrators, feel safe, welcome and included regardless of race, gender or sexuality," Pulver said.

    "I'd like to stress again that there is absolutely no place for homophobia or any form of discrimination in our game and our actions and words on and off the field must reflect that."

    Brumbies player David Pocock took up the homophobic slur with referee Craig Joubert during the second half of the game, which the Waratahs won 28-13.

    Potgieter apologised for the incident on Monday.

    "I'm very sorry for any offence caused by what I said on the field during a heated encounter," he said in a statement.

    "It was an offhand remark made without thought for the hurt it could cause to those around me."

    The ARU said the matter would not go to a tribunal because the Waratahs and the Rugby Union Players' Association had accepted the penalty.

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