De Villiers alleges referees conspiracy
July 21, 2010

South Africa coach Peter de Villiers has sensationally suggested that New Zealand's two Tri-Nations victories over his team were assisted by a conspiracy designed to generate more support ahead of the World Cup next year.

The SARU has meanwhile taken action address what they perceive as a "bias" against their team from referees and the judicial process, but de Villiers has taken the step of questioning the integrity of officials, potentially invoking the wrath of Sanzar and the IRB.

The All Blacks beat the Springboks 32-12 and 31-17 in this year's first two Tri-Nations matches on New Zealand soil, and while de Villiers has been critical of referees, there has been little suggestion the officials were unbalanced or that the All Blacks didn't win on their own merits, until now.

"I've got my own observations about the last two Tests, and I can't say it in public. But we do have a World Cup in New Zealand next year, and maybe it was the right thing for them to win the games so they can attract more people to the games next year," De Villiers told Australia's Rugby Club television programme.

South Africa's Bakkies Botha was suspended for nine weeks for a headbutt on Jimmy Cowan in the first match - an offence he escaped punishment for at the time - and Jean de Villiers has copped a two-match ban for a dangerous tackle after the second test.

Botha was later sin-binned in the first game for a professional foul and Danie Rossouw received a yellow card in the second match for a light kick on All Blacks captain Richie McCaw. The South Africans believe McCaw has been getting away with too much at the breakdown, and de Villiers has suggested he may need to coach his team to "cheat" to stay on an even playing field.

SARU president Oregan Hoskins told the Cape Times newspaper that he had instructed South Africa's representative on the Sanzar legal committee, Judge Lex Mpati, to "take up" the apparent inconsistent rulings against the Springboks.

"On the judicial side, I have asked Judge Mpati to take it up," Hoskins said. "A number of stakeholders have complained to me about the lack of consistency in the rulings of the judicial officials in rugby.

"I have stressed to Judge Mpati the seriousness of the matter, and he has promised that he will come back to me in writing hopefully by next week. I don't want to say too much further, as previously I have spoken about the issue in the media and nothing has been done about it."

South African Rugby's manager of referees, Andre Watson, did not want to comment on Alain Rolland's performance in Wellington.

"I looked at the ref, and he made some brilliant decisions and some not-so-good decisions," Watson said. "I can't say if the Boks got a raw deal from the referee because if I do say that that is the case, then South Africa will love me and the rest of the world will hate me, and if I don't feel that way, it will be the other way around."


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