Bok coach cleared

The man who led South Africa to series victory over the Lions last summer has escaped punishment in his latest brush with the rugby authorities. [more]

Bok coach cleared

The man who led South Africa to series victory over the Lions last summer has escaped punishment in his latest brush with the rugby authorities.

Springbok head coach Peter de Villiers had been charged with misconduct by the southern hemisphere’s governing body SANZAR following comments he made after his country’s second Tri Nations defeat to New Zealand last month.

De Villiers told the Rugby Club programme on Fox Sports, "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".

Judicial officer Jannie Lubbe ruled that,on balance of probability, de Villiers had not breached the SANZAR code of conduct as he had not specifically mentioned referees or match fixing.

If found guilty, de Villiers could have been fined or even banned from the touchline for the home leg of South Africa’s Tri Nations campaign, starting against New Zealand on August 21.

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Instead, the 53-year-old, is now free to continue as normal as he looks to ensure his team bounce back from three successive defeats in the southern hemisphere’s premier competition.

"I'm satisfied with the outcome," said De Villiers.

"As the verdict makes clear, at no time did I mention referees or a conspiracy and the finding has put this whole incident into context.

"The matter is behind us and we can get on with preparing for our next Test match. I will not be commenting on it further."

De Villiers is currently under growing pressure from the South African rugby public following a series of poor displays on the back of what was a truly outstanding 2009 campaign.

The former Baby Bok coach helped South Africa side avenge their 1997 series lost to the Lions a year ago and then guided the world champions to Tri Nations glory two months later but has also found himself embroiled in controversy on a number of occasions.

De Villiers publicly defended Schalk Burger’s actions after the star flanker was found to have gouged Lions wing Luke Fitzgerald in the second Test in Pretoria, saying that the act didn’t even warrant a yellow card and adding, ‘Why don’t we go to the nearest ballet shop, get some tutus and get a dancing shop going?’

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