Springboks' Smit slams Botha's 'big ego' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Springboks' Smit slams Botha's 'big ego'

By Daniel Gilhooly 14/07/2010 10:34:25 AM Comments (0)

Springboks captain John Smit is at odds with his coach after slamming the actions of banned lock Bakkies Botha, saying there is no room for "big egos" in a Test rugby team.

The fallout over Botha's headbutt early in the 32-12 Tri-Nations Test loss to the All Blacks on Saturday continued on Tuesday when Smit was quizzed on the need for discipline.

Smit said while good discipline was a given for any Test side, a more important factor was not letting down teammates by going beyond their own internal standards - something long-time teammate Botha did when he head butted prone halfback Jimmy Cowan, earning a nine-week suspension.

"The fact of the matter is that in a team sport, you can't afford to have too many big egos. If you have one that is outside the team ethos, it hurts a team," Smit said.

"It was probably the least penalties we've conceded in a long period of time but all you remember is one act of silliness.

"It's been dealt with, thankfully. I think it's just reward for silly behaviour."

Smit's comments come a day after South African coach Peter de Villiers stood up for Botha, in a similar manner to his controversial defence of Springboks flanker Schalk Burger during the British and Irish Lions series last year.

Burger was banned for eight weeks for eye-gouging Lions wing Luke Fitzgerald in the opening minute of the second Test prompting de Villiers to invite those who might object to the act to "head to the nearest ballet shop and buy some nice tutus".

On Monday de Villiers told journalists Cowan had provoked Botha by holding his jersey as they chased a kick and there were too many television replays of the head butting incident.

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw said on Tuesday his team had means to deal with provocation which didn't involve thuggery.

"It's pretty simple really. If you're going to put your team in trouble from doing something stupid well you're wasting your time," he said.

"I don't get angry out on the field. You're competitive and just get on and do the next job. I find if there's anything like that it's usually because you've got them under pressure. That's the way I look at it."

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