Saru in damage control

Saru president Oregan Hoskins and Bok coach Peter de Villiers have apologised for comments that appeared to condone eye gouging.

In a press release on Monday night, just hours after De Villiers had again defended Schalk Burger, Saru condemned all acts of foul play and said such acts would not be tolerated in South African rugby and fell outside the spirit as well as the letter of the laws of the game.

‘We would like to apologise to the rugby community for the erroneous impression that acts of foul play are in any way condoned by South African rugby,’ said Hoskins. ‘That has never been the case and is not now, and we support strong action by rugby authorities when such acts occur.

‘Rugby is a physical game and a hard game but it is a game that rightly prides itself on good sportsmanship and we as Saru categorically condemn any such action. Saru fully supports any action that the IRB feels appropriate to stamp out eye gouging in the game.”

De Villiers added that as Bok coach he stood against play that was not in the spirit of the game.

‘Eye-gouging is something that we as a team will never be part of,’ he said.  ‘The same applies to biting, head-butting, spear tackling or any other foul play that doesn’t belong in the game.

‘My comments on Saturday were based on what I know of Schalk Burger as a player and not on what occurred. It was never my intention to suggest that I condone foul play – that is the last thing I would ever do and I apologise for creating any other impression.’

Ironically, De Villiers is set to meet Hoskins to explain his racially-charged remarks about the selection of the out-of-form Ricky Januarie, so the Bok coach may have some more apologising to do.