Lions in SA

IRB to probe Bok protest

2009-07-05 17:59
Bok coach Peter de Villiers (AP)
London - The International Rugby Board are investigating South Africa's protest against the suspension of Bakkies Botha during Saturday's third Test against the British and Irish Lions.

The Springboks sported white armbands with the message "Justice 4 All" after Botha was banned for a dangerous charge on Lions prop Adam Jones in the second Test.

Springboks coach Peter de Villiers confirmed after the game he agreed with the protest, which was orchestrated by captain John Smit and the South African Rugby Players Association (SARPA).

According to the Telegraph website, an IRB spokesperson said: "The IRB is looking to establish all the relevant facts before making any further comment."

Botha was banned for not binding as he cleared Jones from a ruck, an incident which left the Lions prop with a dislocated shoulder and out of the game for six months.

The Springboks launched an unsuccessful appeal and then called for rugby's judicial system to show greater consistency in the application of the law.

Smit slammed the suspension as "ludicrous" while Lions forwards coach Warren Gatland confirmed they had no issue with the challenge.

South African Rugby Players' Association chief executive Piet Heymans explained the decision to protest.

"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 the one in question in a similar style and was not penalised.

"The players want to send a clear message that they require the International Rugby Board to have an urgent and serious re-look at Law 10.4.

"The inconsistency has upset the players, and they felt very strongly that they must take a firm stance and show their unhappiness with the application of the relevant law.

"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."



Picture - AP

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