Lions fury over fine for Bosman

Rugby Union
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The Independent Online
The great and good of the Mpumalanga Rugby Football Union took possession of liberal quantities of whitewash last night and effectively painted over the gruesome attacks carried out by their two locks, Marius Bosman and Elandre van der Bergh, on the Lions during a depressingly violent encounter in Witbank six days ago. Both players were fined, neither was suspended and the judgement left the tourists flabbergasted.

Bosman must fork out 10,000 rand, the equivalent of around pounds 1,400, for effectively deconstructing Doddie Weir's left knee with a cold blooded and unprovoked stamp. Van der Bergh, who was leaving indelible marks on British tourists as far back as 1994, was fined half that amount for trampling on Rob Wainwright's unprotected head. To add insult to injury, 60 per cent of Van der Bergh's fine was suspended pending good conduct until December

Explaining the decision of a four-man tribunal to fine both second rows little more than a handful of peanuts, Hennie Erasmus, the Mpumalanga president, said: "The tribunal ruled that as both players had already been penalised by the match referee, neither could be charged with contravention of Rule 26 of the laws of the game

"The union initiated the inquiry in terms of their contract with the players and it is the established policy of the union to combat and eradicate all forms of indisciplined play."

Fran Cotton, the Lions manager, declined to comment last night; in all likelihood, he was too angry to speak. Both Bosman and Van der Bergh will be available for Mpumalanga's next game. Meanwhile, Weir must decide whether to bring a civil law suit against Bosman whose actions may well keep the Scotsman out of rugby until Christmas.