South Africa v British & Irish Lions, Johannesburg, July 4
Springboks to appeal Botha ban
June 30, 2009
Botha was banned for two weeks for a dangerous charge on Lions prop Adam Jones © Getty Images
South Africa have are to appeal against Bakkies Botha's two-week ban for a dangerous charge on Lions prop Adam Jones.
Lock Botha was cited and subsequently banned for the challenge following the Springboks' series-clinching 28-25 victory in the second Test at Loftus Versfeld. Welsh international Jones was left with a dislocated shoulder which ended his tour. SA Rugby officials were furious with the ban because they felt Botha's attempts at clearing out the ruck had been legal.
"We certainly don't see any wrong-doing in that challenge and if it wasn't for the injury which came from it, I don't think anything would have been said about it," said Springboks assistant coach Dick Muir. "It is a major concern for us. There were a lot of other tougher incidents on the field where people could have been cited.
"We realise that it's a tough game but what is disappointing for us was that there was no reason for Bakkies to be cited. We're concerned at what the game is coming too. Cleaning out at rucks is a big part of the game and is really physical. We are just concerned it could change the face of the game."
Springboks forwards coach Gary Gold described the suspension as "preposterous" because he felt Botha had cleared out the ruck legally. Botha's appeal hearing will take place via teleconference on Thursday morning. If cleared, he could face the Lions in Sunday's third Test.
The Springboks will not be appealing the Schalk Burger's eight-week ban for making contact with the eye area of Lions winger Luke Fitzgerald. The South African Rugby Union was forced into making an official apology last night after the International Rugby Board expressed concerns that Springboks head coach Peter de Villiers had condoned eye-gouging.
Immediately after the game, De Villiers said he did not believe Burger should have been sent to the sin-bin while the Lions felt it should have been a straight red card. De Villiers today blamed his comments on the British and Irish press for being "sore losers".
South Africa will name their side for final clash of the Lions' tour on Thursday.