Rugby Union: Accusations fly after tour matches Down Under: Welsh visit raises echoes

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The Independent Online
ALLEGATIONS concerning all manner of violence followed tour matches in Australia yesterday when South Africa and Cardiff were accused of thuggery by their respective opponents in Canberra and Sydney.

Cardiff, who lost 16-8 to Sydney, were accused of eye gouging, stamping and 'bag snatching' (testicle grabbing) in their match, while South Africa, who crushed Australian Capital Territory 57-10, were branded cowards after a second-half brawl.

Sydney's spiteful match was played in wind, rain and bitter chill, but apparently for the Wallaby members of the side the weather was not the only reminder of last year's tour of Wales. It was during the visit that Bob Dwyer, Australia's coach, made claims of 'bag snatching' against a number of leading Welsh sides and last night these were echoed in the Sydney dressing-room.

Mark Bell, the Sydney hooker, went to hospital for a precautionary check on an eye injury. 'I was gouged from behind,' he alleged. 'I don't mind a fight but this gouging and stomping and other business was a bit much.'

As for South Africa, John Kelsey, ACT's coach, said: 'When a back gets involved in the meddling of forwards he needs pyschiatric treatment. Guys running in from 30 metres to belt people is cowardly at this level.' Kelsey then announced his resignation.

Adriaan Richter, who was leading the tourists, said: 'I am not proud of the game, but it's rugby and it happens.' Rudi Visagie, the Natal lock who broke a finger during the match, will be replaced on tour by his provincial team-mate Steve Atherton.