Springboks' Burger gets eight-week ban - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Springboks' Burger gets eight-week ban

29/06/2009 06:37:52 PM Comments (0)

Springbok enforcer Schalk Burger has been banned for eight weeks for eye-gouging British and Irish Lions winger Luke Fitzgerald in his country's dramatic second Test victory on the weekend.

Bakkies Botha was also banned for two weeks for a dangerous charge on Lions prop Adam Jones, who had to have surgery on a dislocated shoulder as a result.

Both will miss Saturday's third and final South Africa-Lions Test at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

Burger, the IRB Player of the Year in 2004, will also miss the Springboks' first three games in the Tri-Nations.

Returning to play on August 23, he could however feature in the final three games of the round-robin tournament between the Boks, Australia and New Zealand.

Burger, conspicuous by his flowing golden locks and known for his abrasive all-action style, was yellow carded after just 32 seconds of the game by French referee Christophe Berdos for the offence on the advice of touch judge Bryce Lawrence of New Zealand.

The Springboks conceded 10 points in the time Burger was off the pitch but went on to win 28-25 with the final Morne Steyn kick of the game, taking an unassailable 2-0 series lead into the Johannesburg Test.

Springbok lock Botha was suspended for a charge in the fourth minute of the second half on Welshman Jones, who had to leave the pitch and undergo corrective surgery on his shoulder, ruling him out of the rest of the Lions tour.

Botha is ruled out until July 11 but available for South Africa's Tri-Nations opener against New Zealand in Bloemfontein next month.

South Africa coach Peter de Villiers refused to condemn Burger's actions after Saturday's game.

"I don't believe it was a card at all," said De Villiers. "In the first minute already there had been a lot of needle and if you watch the whole game you will see how many yellow cards they were let off.

"This is sport, this is what it's about. If things were clear-cut then we shouldn't even bother preparing for a game. Everyone is entitled to their opinion."

Lions head coach Ian McGeechan said he had been disappointed by De Villiers' comments.

"I am very disappointed if that's what he said because for me you can't see that and say it's a part of the game that I would ever want to be associated with," said the former Scotland and Lions centre.

"It should automatically be a red card, as I understand it," he said of Burger's gouging. "For me, that is never part of the game."

Burger's ban follows a similar eight-week ban slapped on Italian captain Sergio Parisse for eye gouging All Blacks lock Isaac Ross in Saturday's Test won 27-6 by New Zealand.

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