Botha injury raises disciplinary issue
November 9, 2008
South Africa skipper John Smit lifts the silverware at the Millennium Stadium © Getty Images
South Africa exited Cardiff for Edinburgh today - leaving a possible disciplinary issue hanging in the air.
It surrounds lock Bakkies Botha, who Springboks manager Arthob Petersen claimed "had a finger in the eye" during South Africa's 20-15 Millennium Stadium victory over Wales. Botha was replaced at half-time by Western Province forward Andries Bekker as the Springboks recorded a 10th successive win against Wales.
Botha went to hospital after the game and was seen by a specialist, with Springboks team doctor Craig Roberts planning to issue a full medical update tomorrow. It is understood the Springboks management have ruled out making an official complaint, choosing instead to leave matters in the International Rugby Board's hands.
Match commissioner, the former England international Peter Larter, has until tomorrow afternoon to cite any player he feels might have been guilty of play. A disciplinary hearing would then be convened probably on Tuesday, although the Welsh camp had not been contacted about any disciplinary matters this morning.
Botha is rated doubtful for next Saturday's Murrayfield appointment with Scotland, while centre Adrian Jacobs is also battling an injury. Jacobs, scorer of South Africa's opening try against Wales, is nursing a knee ligament problem. It was initially feared both Jacobs and Botha would be forced to return home early, with South Africa summoning reinforcements - although that no longer appears the case.
Based on their performance in Cardiff, world champions South Africa should prove too strong for the Scots - but they will require a significant improvement against England next Saturday week. "We were playing the Six Nations champions in the middle of their season at home, so it was always going to be tough," insisted Botha's second-row colleague Victor Matfield.
"We came over here to get three wins and we are happy with the victory, although there is still a lot of work we can do. I don't think it was our best performance."
South Africa's hosts made it difficult, however, according to Matfield. "Wales carried the ball well in the second half," he said. "It was a pity we couldn't get our hands on the ball - we made too many errors and gave away too many penalties, so we didn't get into the game in that second period. I don't know what the penalty count was, but we were under pressure the whole time and we couldn't get into the game in the second half.
"It is always hard at the end of our season, but we've got two more games to go and two more games we want to win - so I think the guys will get up from here. Wales are a good side and a proud side. They won the Six Nations earlier this year and they can play great rugby - they are right up there."
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