South African Rugby
SA Rugby issue Burger report
July 3, 2009
Burger was sin-binned by referee Christophe Berdos for the incident © Getty Images
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has made public the findings of IRB judicial officer Alan Hudson relating to the eight-week ban meted out to flanker Schalk Burger.
Burger was banned for making contact with the eyes of British & Irish Lions wing Luke Fitzgerald in the second Test at Loftus Versfeld last Saturday - a ban that has caused shockwaves in the rugby community after Springbok coach Peter de Villiers defended his actions and was subsequently forced in to an apology by SARU officials. Burger was sin-binned for the incident and subsequently cited
"Given the significant amount of coverage this incident has caused, SA Rugby wishes to place on record the findings from the disciplinary hearing of Springbok flanker Schalk Burger," read the statement. "Media should note the Judicial Officer specifically cleared Burger of eye gouging but found him guilty of committing an act contrary to good sportsmanship by making contact with the face in the eye area of Lions wing Luke Fitzgerald in the first minute of the second Test of the 2009 Lions Series.
"SA Rugby reaffirms its opposition to any form of foul play, including eye gouging, and supports any strong action taken by the authorities to ensure its eradication from the game."
Burger has also issued an apology to fans and team-mates, but is yet to apologise to Fitzgerald directly.
The findings of the judicial officer:
In the release Hudson marks Burger's transgression on the lower end of the scale - carrying a sanction of 12 weeks - but goes on to give the reasons why he reduced this minimum ban to eight weeks.