Crusaders cleared of foul play

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has demanded an apology from the Bulls after eye-gouging allegations against his team couldn’t be substantiated by the Super Rugby citing commissioner.

Bulls forwards Chiliboy Ralepelle and Flip van der Merwe complained to referee Jaco Peyper that they had been eye-gouged during their match in Pretoria, won 32-30 by the Bulls. Peyper used a white card to refer the incidents to the citing commissioner.

According to reports in New Zealand, the commissioner has reviewed the video footage of the incidents in question and found the Crusaders not guilty.

‘The citing commissioner has reviewed it and after that review there was nothing in the video footage that would point to the allegation being substantiated,’ Sanzar chief executive Greg Peters said.

‘The citing commissioner also found it interesting that the Bulls did not follow through with a complaint within the four-hour window after the game.’

After the game, Blackadder said he was ‘bemused’ at the allegations and demanded an apology if they were found to be incorrect. Following the citing commissioner’s ruling and after looking at the footage, the Crusaders coach wonders why the Bulls would have made such claims.

‘The first one with Chiliboy, you would expect that the player would come out of the breakdown holding his eye, but he certainly didn’t. I wonder whether it was a negative ploy.’

Captain Kieran Read also said that he was disappointed with the Bulls for accusing the Crusaders of such tactics.

‘Initially I was really surprised at the allegations,’ he said. ‘It has now come out that there’s no case to answer.

‘It’s a kick in the guts to us because we’re men of integrity and it’s no surprise that it’s turned out the way it has.’