Cape Town - Former Springbok lock Flip van der Merwe has taken to social media to bemoan the treatment he received after moving a
referee out of the way on the way to a ruck.
READ: Super Rugby player suspensions beggar belief
Van der Merwe, 32, who played 36 Tests for the Springboks, was playing for Clermont in a recent Top 14 match against Toulouse, when he received a four-week ban for the incident below.
burly lock immediately apologised to the
referee and then again at half-time. The referee didn't appear to make much fuss of the matter and actually awarded Munster a penalty at the ruck!
Following the final whistle the referee didn’t mention
the incident in his match report, while the match commissioner deemed
the discussion between Van der Merwe and the referee to have been
"Crazy" tweeted another former Bok second-rower, Victor Matfield, while a third ex-Bok lock, Bakkies Botha, joked that if it
were him, it would have been an eight week ban. Botha went on to say
that he is happy he's retired now, because (this type of thing) has
become a joke.
This follows recent similar comments by James Haskell, who said that
rugby is becoming a 'pretty pathetic sport', after he was penalised for a
questionable high tackle.
It's not the first time we've seen players in trouble for pushing referees.
In 2009 Brian Mujati infamously received a 6-week ban for pushing Nigel Owens, while in that same year flank Neil Best was yellow carded for a shove on George Clancy.
In 2014, Ben Tameifuna was suspended for 5 weeks for a push on Glen Jackson, while in 2017 Worcester Warriors prop Val Rapava-Ruskin was suspended for 6 weeks for his push of Greg Garner.
World Rugby can scarcely afford any more bad publicity following weekend after weekend of incompetent refereeing displays going unpunished, while the citing process has resembled something of a comedy show of late with no fewer than three South African players banned after last weekend's action alone - but none of the trio will miss a single second of rugby!