Mon 14 Nov 2022 | 04:51

VIDEO: Boks dismiss claims of a 'card culture'

VIDEO: Boks dismiss claims of a 'card culture'
Mon 14 Nov 2022 | 04:51
VIDEO: Boks dismiss claims of a 'card culture'
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REACTION: South Africa, while sweating over the outcome of a disciplinary hearing for veteran loose forward Pieter-Steph du Toit, has staunchly defended their spotty disciplinary record this year.

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Du Toit will appear before a World Rugby disciplinary hearing on Wednesday, following his red card in the 12th minute of the 26-30 loss to France in Marseille at the weekend – the consequence of a dangerous ruck cleanout.

He will be charged under Law 9.12 – ‘physical abuse’.

The World Rugby judicial committee will be chaired by Philippe Cavalieros (France), and joined by former internationals Stefan Terblanche (South Africa) and Leon Lloyd (England).

Springbok forwards coach Deon Davids said they will allow the process to run its course, but there is a realistic chance that the 30-year-old will be slapped with a ban and miss the encounter with Italy at Stadio Luigi Ferraris, in Genoa, this coming Saturday.

In fact, it will not be a surprise if his tour has already come to a premature conclusion.

Davids defended the player, saying it was not Du Toit’s intention to commit an act of foul play.

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“He always plays with enthusiasm and commitment, but I doubt he intended to play in breach of the laws,” the assistant coach said.

“However, it is part of the game, it happened and we have to accept it.

“We have to plan around it,” he said of the possibility of a ban, adding that they accept the process and will abide by the outcome.

Davids added that Tuesday’s hearing will determine whether Du Toit remains with the team – with a final decision resting with coach Jacques Nienaber and Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus.

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However, he was adamant that there is not a problem with the team’s discipline – despite the dissatisfactory record in 2022.

The Boks conceded just 29 penalties and no cards in the 2-1 series win over Wales in July.

The discipline stats looked impressive.

However, the red mist started setting in during the Rugby Championship, when Kurt-Lee Arendse was shown the red card for a dangerous tackle in the 26-10 win over New Zealand in Round One in Nelspruit.

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A week later, at Ellis Park, Damian Willemse was shown a yellow card for a cynical tackle foul close to his own tryline in the 23-35 loss.

In Round Three, a 17-25 loss to Australia in Melbourne, Francois de Klerk was yellow-carded for a farcical ‘moustache tap’ on Nic White late in the first half, with the Boks close to the Wallaby line.

A week later, despite winning 24-8 in Sydney, wing Makazole Mapimpi‚Äôs overzealous celebrations and Willie le Roux’s deliberate knock-down late in the game earned them yellow cards.

The ‘yellow fever’ continued in Argentina. Despite yellow cards to Willie le Roux and Albertus Smith in the second half and a rash of penalties, the Springboks registered an impressive 36-20 win in Buenos Aires.

Back home in Durban, the flood of cards did not stop. The Boks completed the Rugby Championship campaign with a 38-21 win at Kings Park, but Eben Etzebeth (for dangerous play) and Francois de Klerk (a cynical offence, which stopped a goal-bound Argentine maul) spent time in the sin bin.

They ended the tournament with a red card, eight yellow cards and 68 penalties – a significant rise from the July levels, when they averaged less than 10 penalties per game.

The two year-end Tests – against Ireland (a 16-19 loss in Dublin) and France (the 26-30 in Marseille this past weekend) – produced further yellow cards to Cheslin Kolbe and Deon Fourie.

However, Du Toit’s red card in the 12th minute sparked outrage from critics outside of the Republic.

Added were another 22 penalties, stirring up further questions about the Boks’ discipline.

“I don’t think there is anything wrong in terms of the discipline of the players,” Davids told a media briefing.

“We have an extensive process in preparing and coaching our players to understand the laws of the game,” the assistant said, adding: “We role-play things like that in our training sessions.

“We also work hard on their skill execution, in order for them not to find themselves in poor positions – whether it is the breakdown, tackling or ball carries – that might lead to situations that expose them to that [receiving cards].

“These things, unfortunately, happen in the game.

“We look at each and everyone quite clearly.

“We attempt to communicate with referees, on and off the field, to get a better understanding in terms of how we see it and how they see it.

“That is a continuous process we follow.”

* Meanwhile French captain and No.9 Antoine Dupont will also face a disciplinary hearing, following his red card for an act of ‘foul play’ – having taken Bok fullback Cheslim Kolbe out in the air.

Kolbe landed dangerously on his head and left the field with a concussion.

He is likely to be ruled out of the trip to Genoa.

Dupont will be charged under Law 9.17 – tackling an opponent whose feet are off the ground.

His hearing will be chaired by Stephen Hardy (Australia), who will be joined by former international coach Frank Hadden (Scotland) and former international John Langford (Australia).

The hearing will also take place on Wednesday.

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