Tri Nations Tournament - De Villiers forced to wait to learn fate

Reuters - Fri, 06 Aug 14:14:00 2010

South Africa coach Peter de Villiers will learn his fate next week after judgement was reserved in his SANZAR misconduct hearing.

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SANZAR judicial officer Jannie Lubbe heard the case, which relates to comments made by De Villiers on Australia's Fox Sports 'Rugby Club' programme on July 21, at the offices of the South African Rugby Union.

"The judicial officer advised us that he is going to consider his judgement and let us know by the latest beginning of next week," acting SARU managing director Andy Marinos said.

De Villiers suggested that New Zealand were being given preferential treatment by referees because that country is hosting the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The coach, whose first language is Afrikaans but who insists on addressing the media in English, later said he had been misinterpreted.

"I've got my own observations about the last two tests (against New Zealand), 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 on the programme.

The coach later issued a statement.

"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 said.

"This view has been misinterpreted and I wish to make it clear that I had no other intention than to make that specific point."

SANZAR chief executive Steve Tew said his organisation had ordered the hearing after deciding that the comments of De Villiers, whose team lost all three away Tri-Nations matches, might have constituted a breach of their code of conduct.

De Villiers has frequently courted controversy since taking over from World Cup-winning coach Jake White in 2008, notably in the 2009 series against the British & Irish Lions when he appeared to condone foul play committed by Springbok flanker Schalk Burger.

SARU president Oregan Hoskins told Reuters last week that De Villiers' job was secure, despite "grave" concerns following the team's poor displays against New Zealand and Australia.


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