SA Rugby president lashes out at rivals - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

SA Rugby president lashes out at rivals

03/08/2010 05:59:37 PM Comments (0)

South Africa Rugby president Oregan Hoskins has lashed out at SANZAR partners Australia and New Zealand over the disciplinary hearing for controversial Springboks coach Peter de Villiers.

Hoskins labelled the hearing - to be held in Cape Town on Friday - "a declaration of war by Australia and New Zealand against South Africa", the Cape Argus reports.

The SA rugby boss also vowed to stand behind de Villiers who is under fire over his comments about the refereeing of his misfiring team which has slumped to an 0-3 start in the Tri-Nations series.

De Villiers will front a hearing by SANZAR judicial officer Jannie Lubbe after seemingly implying that Irish referees Alan Lewis and Alain Rolland favoured the All Blacks during their two wins over the Springboks in New Zealand last month.

"We are right behind Peter and will defend him to the hilt," Hoskins said.

However, Hoskins also reportedly confirmed that, during a performance review earlier this week, De Villiers had promised to abstain from making any more controversial remarks about referees.

Speaking on Fox Sport's Rugby Club program in Australia on July 21, De Villiers said: "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."

SA Rugby has issued a statement in an attempt to convince governing body SANZAR that De Villiers had been misunderstood.

"In no manner did I ever suggest that the All Blacks were being favoured - by match officials or anyone else - because their country was hosting the Rugby World Cup next year," De Villiers was quoted as saying in the statement.

Meanwhile, former Springbok team psychologist Henning Gericke has warned of dysfunction in the team's leadership.

"The leaders in the team are possibly too soft on one another and the players in the squad," suggested Gericke on the Sport 24 website.

"What Peter did really well was to empower the players. But it's a very fine line ... Only the squad will know, but it's quite possible that the balance swung too much to the players.

"Peter will have to show mental toughness and address the issue."

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