Did Botha bash Hougaard?

Video footage suggests that Derick Hougaard’s shoulder injury in the Absa Currie Cup final may well have been inflicted by his captain Gary Botha, writes Dale Granger.

The Cape Argus rugby writer said that while it was initially suspected that the injury to the Vodacom Bulls pivot came as a result of a tackle by Vodacom Cheetahs prop Jannie du Plessis, closer inspection showed Botha charging into a ruck and trampling heavily on Hougaard.

Loftus’ liefling was having a nightmare final prior to the injury.

Granger said footage showed Hougaard being smothered by Du Plessis and Kabamba Floors at the breakdown before Botha arrived at the ruck. The hooker then lifts his knee up to his chest, hesitates momentarily, as if taking aim, and brings his boot down heavily on Hougaard’s shoulder. He was soon replaced by Morné Steyn who was the catalyst for a much improved Bulls performance.

Granger drew comparisons to a similar incident at Twickenham in 2003, where Springbok captain Corné Krige was caught on video throwing a punch that decked flyhalf André Pretorius.

The man closest to the action, referee Jonathan Kaplan was unsighted but said it was possible to punish a player for injuring his own teammate.

“It has happened in English football when two Newcastle players (Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer) were sent off for fighting on the field,” said Kaplan.