Ex-Wallaby 'sorry' for clown comment - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ex-Wallaby 'sorry' for clown comment

By Jim Morton 23/07/2010 01:34:57 PM Comments (0)

Former Wallabies hooker Brendan Cannon is in hot water for branding Springboks coach Peter de Villiers a "clown" and a puppet over his latest outlandish comments.

While Tri-Nations governing body SANZAR may censure de Villiers for suggesting South Africa were victims of a World Cup conspiracy in their two losses in New Zealand, Cannon has been forced to apologise for his response.

The 42-Test hooker will issue an on-air apology to the Springboks camp after ridiculing the coach following his extraordinary comments on Fox Sports Rugby Club program on Wednesday night.

"I've got my own observations about the last two Tests, and maybe 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 said.

A panellist on The Rugby Club, Cannon upset South African officials by belittling de Villiers and suggesting he was a puppet coach.

"I can't believe that senior players like John Smit and Victor Matfield allow themselves to be controlled by this guy," he said.

"He is a clown. He surely does not coach the team."

Springboks spokesperson Anthony Mackaiser on Thursday delivered Fox Sports, a Tri-Nations broadcast rights holder, an ultimatum they immediately apologise or no longer have on-air access to South African players or management.

A Fox Sports spokesman on Friday confirmed the apology would occur at the start of Saturday night's Test coverage at Suncorp Stadium.

"Canno will make a public apology when we open the coverage on Saturday night," he told AAP.

De Villiers, though, remains on thin ice as SANZAR investigates his comments, which have stemmed from his frustrations over refereeing and judicial decisions in New Zealand.

He's been shaking his head at why northern hemisphere referees have controlled the opening two Tests which the All Blacks won comfortably after South Africa had men sin-binned early in both.

Lock Bakkies Botha was also suspended for the entire Tri-Nations for headbutting Jimmy Cowan in the 32-12 loss in Auckland while winger Jean de Villiers was banned for three weeks for a dangerous tackle on Rene Ranger in the 31-17 Wellington defeat.

De Villiers was particularly unhappy how Irish referees Alan Lewis and Alain Rolland controlled the breakdown in both matches.

Another Irishman, George Clancy, will control Saturday night's clash with the Wallabies in Brisbane, where the Springboks haven't won since 1971.

De Villiers on Friday attempted to protect himself from possible punishment by denying he suggested the All Blacks had been favoured to generate interest for the World Cup and claiming his comments were misinterpreted.

"While I have also expressed unhappiness over some refereeing issues, this is a separate matter altogether and has no bearing on what I said," he said in a SARU media statement.

"My comment during The Rugby Club interview was based on the general view that part of the success of any World Cup event rests on the fact that the host nation has a winning team.

"Nevertheless, I regret that this may have created the wrong impression and raised undue concern for SANZAR and the RWC 2011 organisers."

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