Matfield in the clear

Victor Matfield was not cited, despite the Sharks alleging he hit prop BJ Botha.

Sharks coach Dick Muir was incensed after his side’s 34-27 defeat against the Bulls, saying that dirty play and premediated striking of an opponent did not belong in the game. The Sharks then asked the citing commissioner to take further action, but it would appear there was no video footage available to support claims that Matfield had punched Botha.

Matfield denied he was at the heart of a premeditated punch on the Sharks tighthead, saying only that it had been a very physical match.

Botha, in the week, had told that the Sharks pack had been the most impressive of the South African sides in this year’s competition. Botha also spoke of the impact of Johan Ackermann and AJ Venter in the Sharks pack and said they relished the challenge of going to Pretoria. Warren Britz, flanker of the Sharks, also said that the ground held no fears for the Sharks, who enjoyed the trip up north. Britz had statistics to support his claim as the Sharks had won two and drawn one of their last three visits.

This seemed to fire up the Bully Boys, who let rip from the opening whistle. Surprisingly, there was no outright fight and the showdown between Ackermann and Bakkies Botha was one that played itself out in a rugby capacity. BJ Botha, though, took a pounding and had to receive medical attention several times in the match. He certainly had taken a punch from someone.

Bulls coach Heyneke Meyer, meanwhile, told the media that his team would have to sustain the intensity for at least an hour to beat a Crusaders side that arrives in Pretoria with a must-win attitude if a home semi-final is to be realised.