South Africa Rugby
De Villiers courts controversy - again
September 1, 2010
Boks boss Peter de Villiers is no stranger to controversy © Getty Images
Speaking ahead of his side's latest Tri-Nations clash against Australia in Bloemfontein on Saturday, De Villiers that his squad "supports Bees Roux 100 per cent" after the player was charged with beating a police officer to death.
"Nothing must stand in our way between now and the World Cup and the players have to be strong enough to deal with all kinds of psychological issues and domestic circumstances," said the outspoken coach who was cleared of a misconduct charge last month over his alleged claim that referees are under orders to favour New Zealand ahead of next year's World Cup. "For instance, how will the Bees Roux tragedy affect those who know him well? We must deal with everything that comes our way."
De Villiers revealed that the Springboks had discussed the Roux incident and sympathised with the uncapped prop. "We feel for all South Africans, especially rugby players, and while we do not defend the act [of Roux], we sympathise with the tragedy," he said. "It is an unfortunate reality that these things can happen to anybody. The team supports Bees 100 per cent, not on the deed, but rather on the circumstances that led to the situation developing."
Oregan Hoskins, president of the South African Rugby Union, refused to be drawn on the issue. "I have no comment to make at this stage," he told the South African Times. "But I have seen the comments Peter made. I want the team to focus on Saturday's Tri-Nations game against Australia in Bloemfontein."
The newspaper also reports that De Villiers might face charges of bringing the game into disrepute with Union officials angered by the latest headline-grabbing comments made by the coach in a controversy-laden 32-month tenure.
Roux, who claims he acted in self defence when he thought he was being robbed, will plead not guilty and has been granted bail.