De Villiers cleared of misconduct charge
August 9, 2010
Springbok boss Peter de Villiers suggested that match officials are favouring New Zealand © Getty Images
South Africa head coach Peter de Villiers has escaped punishment over his alleged claim that referees are under orders to favour New Zealand ahead of next year's World Cup.
During an interview on Australian TV, de Villiers appeared to suggest that officials were showing a clear bias towards the All Blacks and was summoned to appear before SANZAR (South Africa, New Zealand and Australian Rugby) judicial officer Jannie Lubbe in Cape Town last week to explain his comments. However, Lubbe cleared de Villiers of any wrongdoing.
A statement issued by SANZAR on Tuesday read: "Mr Lubbe heard the case on Friday 6 August 2010 and after considering the evidence decided that, on balance of probability, Mr De Villiers had not breached the SANZAR code of conduct.
"Mr Lubbe stated that during his interview with Fox Sports, Mr De Villiers never mentioned or referred to referees or match fixing. As the judicial process has concluded, SANZAR will not be making any further comment on the issue."
De Villiers had made his controversial comments in the wake of successive defeats by the All Blacks on New Zealand soil.
He told Fox Sports: "I've got my own observations about the last two Tests, and 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."
Unsurprisingly, South Africa Rugby Union (SARU) president Oregan Hoskins is now keen to move on rather than dwell on the validity or otherwise of de Villiers' complaint.
"It is dealt with now and we know that the coach and the team are going to focus on one thing, and one thing only and that is the next Test match," he said. "It's important for us to deal with any issues we have through SANZAR and that is what we plan to do in the future."
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