Sunday, April 08, 2012

Crusaders deny Bulls' eye-gouging claims RICHARD KNOWLER IN PRETORIA  08/04/2012

The Crusaders have vehemently denied eye-gouging allegations by the Bulls and Todd Blackadder says if they are proved wrong he would like an apology.
Bulls forwards Chiliboy Ralepelle and Flip van der Merwe reported to referee Jaco Peyper they had been gouged during the Super Rugby match at Loftus Versfeld and the official produced the white card twice to put the incidents on report.
A citing commissioner will investigate the allegations which were said to have happened in rucks on either side of halftime.
The Bulls won the thrilling encounter 32-30 after trailing 13-9 at the break.
After the match Crusaders captain Kieran Read said he was mystified by the Bulls actions and said his players didn't resort to such grubby tactics.
He was "a bit surprised'' when Peyper told him of the accusations at the time.
"Our men are not the type of men to do that sort of thing,'' Read said. "They (the citing commissioner) will look at it and see what it was. And the decision will be made from there.''
Read and Blackadder were annoyed their team's reputation could be smudged by this.
Blackadder also defended the players, stating he would be surprised if they stooped to such tactics.
"Personally I am really bemused by them (the allegations). An allegation is an allegation. An allegation has obviously been made and if it is incorrect I will be expecting an apology.
"Otherwise anyone can make an allegation. If something like that did happen I would be very disappointed but I know our players aren't like that.''
The Crusaders have traditionally had few issues with the judiciary over the years and eye-gouging is not a charge that rests on any of their players' rap sheets.
Bulls skipper Pierre Spies said he didn't know which Crusaders players were involved.
After Ralepelle reported being poked, van der Merwe also told his skipper he felt someone's fingers in his eyes immediately after halftime.
"Flip came to me and told me there was another one ... so I told Jaco that and that was a white card. We will have to see what happens.''
Anyone caught eye-gouging, often viewed as one of the lowest acts in rugby, risks copping a heavy suspension under Sanzar rules. The entry point is 12 weeks.
Rebels lock Adam Byrne was suspended for 10 weeks when he was found guilty of gouging Waratahs playmaker Daniel Halangahu earlier this season. That decision has since been overturned.

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