Etzebeth found not guilty of gouging

2012-11-21 00:00

INFLUENTIAL Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth was late last night cleared to play against England in Saturday’s Test at Twickenham.

Etzebeth was cited for allegedly making contact with the “eye or eye area” of Scotland fly-half Greig Laidlaw during Saturday’s 21-10 victory at Murrayfield, but last night he was found not guilty.

The SA Rugby Union announced the verdict on their official Twitter page, saying: “Good news on Eben Etzebeth — he’s not guilty and free to play against England on Saturday.” The 21-year-old Etzebeth appeared before the independent judicial officer, David Martin, who ruled the contact with Laidlaw’s eyes was accidental. The official statement read: “The judicial officer held that the contact in the area of the Scotland player’s eyes was accidental, and as such did not constitute foul play.

“Eben Etzebeth is free to resume playing immediately.”

Meanwhile the Boks, facing a minor crisis in the front-row, last night rushed Golden Lions prop JC Janse van Rensburg on to a flight to London as a replacement for the injured CJ van der Linde (pulled hamstring).

An injury to loosehead Gurthrö Steenkamp, which could rule him out for Saturday’s international, has compounded the problem.

“Gurthrö is not feeling 100% and we’ve decided it would be best to have proper cover at loosehead,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer. “JC is an experienced player at Super Rugby and Currie Cup level and also captained the Golden Lions very well this year. “

Meyer has only one other specialist loose-head in the squad, Leinster prop Heinke van der Merwe, and he will start against England if Steenkamp is ruled out.

Wing JP Pietersen is also a doubtful starter and Lwazi Mvovo has been training in his place.

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