Sanzar drops De Villiers charge

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The Independent Online

The South Africa coach, Peter de Villiers, will face no sanctions for his comments in a recent interview, after Sanzar (South Africa, New Zealand and Australia Rugby) dismissed a misconduct charge against him yesterday.

De Villiers was summoned to appear before Sanzar judicial officer Jannie Lubbe in Cape Town last week following comments he gave in an interview with Australia's Fox Sports Rugby Club programme on 21 July.

During the interview, De Villiers seemed to allege that referees were showing bias towards New Zealand in light of the Springboks' second TriNations defeat to the All Blacks in as many weeks. But Lubbe deemed him not guilty.

A statement from the governing body said: "Mr Lubbe heard the case on Friday 6 August 2010 and after considering the evidence decided that, on balance of probability, Mr De Villiers had not breached the Sanzar code of conduct.

"Mr Lubbe stated that during his interview with Fox Sports, Mr De Villiers never mentioned or referred to referees or match-fixing. As the judicial process has concluded, Sanzar will not be commenting further on the issue."

De Villiers' comments were directed at the Irish officials Alan Lewis and Alain Rolland, but De Villiers later suggested he had been misinterpreted.

The ruling means De Villiers will now be able to take his place on the sidelines when the world champions next face the New Zealanders on 21 August. South Africa are now seemingly playing for second place after the All Blacks won all four of their opening games.