Lions offer solace to Springbok over ban - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lions offer solace to Springbok over ban

By Luke Phillips 04/07/2009 11:24:44 AM Comments (0)

South African lock Bakkies Botha should not have been banned for an alleged dangerous charge in the second Test, according to the British and Irish Lions.

Botha was cited and then banned for two weeks for the second-half charge on Adam Jones in the Pretoria Test last weekend that left the Welsh prop needing corrective surgery to right a dislocated shoulder.

Jones has since left the tour to seek further treatment with his club Ospreys but importantly saw nothing illegal about Botha's charge.

The Springbok coaching staff have also insisted that they saw nothing untoward in the second-rower's charge, arguing he had merely been clearing a ruck.

That sentiment was echoed on Friday by Lions forwards coach Warren Gatland, speaking ahead of Saturday's third and final Test at Ellis Park here, a game which Botha will miss.

"We had a meeting last night with the referees and spoke to (South African coaches) Peter de Villiers and Gary Gold and said from our point of view we didn't have an issue with Bakkies," said Gatland.

"It was a very, very tough decision on him to be banned because Adam Jones didn't have a problem with it and none of the Lions management had an issue with Bakkies on that clean-out.

"We thought it was a legitimate clean-out.

"If you're going to ban someone for that, you can probably pick out 50 such incidents in any one match and do the same thing.

"Bakkies has had a bit of history in the past not using his arms and other bits and pieces but on that occasion there was no problem with us."

Gatland, the New Zealand-born head coach of Wales, added that the sport's governing body, the IRB, needed to re-assess rules surrounding the breakdown, a crucial part of the game.

The Springbok coaches have argued that not only was Botha's charge on Jones not malicious but that he had been cited only because the prop had been injured.

Bok captain John Smit said Friday that the feeling in the home side's camp was that Botha had been "victimised".

"I have to believe he was victimised, and I hope and pray that was the case," the prop said, also adding that the rules had to be clarified.

"One cannot let something like this pass. I hope sanity will prevail in the future."

Along with Botha, Springbok flanker Schalk Burger will also miss the Ellis Park clash, with the hosts having already wrapped up an unassailable 2-0 series win.

Burger was banned for eight weeks for making contact in the eye area of Lions winger Luke Fitzgerald, also in the nail-biting second Test which the Boks won 28-25 thanks to a last-second Morne Steyn penalty kick.

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