Muir: sorry for outburst

2008-03-17 00:00

Sharks coach Dick Muir has apologised to timekeeper Gabriel Pappas following his outburst in the media centre during the Super 14 game against the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday evening.

Muir angrily approached the timekeepers during the game, after Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis was prevented from returning to the field following treatment for a deep cut above his eyebrow.

The timekeepers, who sit in the press area at Ellis Park, ruled that Du Plessis had been off the field for longer than the permitted 15 minutes. However, officials alongside Muir on the touchline had told the Sharks coach that he still had time to send his hooker back into action.

When Du Plessis was prevented from returning to the field by referee Mark Lawrence, who was acting on the instructions of the timekeepers, Muir angrily swept through the press area, accosted Pappas and called him “a f****** cheat”.

Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl said last night that the matter was handled internally.

“Following the verbal altercation between Dick and Pappas, we have held an in-house meeting. He has apologised to Gabriel Pappas,” said Van Zyl.

Early yesterday, Sanzar’s regional director, Johan Botes, said that no complaints had been received and no action against Muir was likely.

However, later in the day, Sapa reported that Botes confirmed that one report on the incident had been received from a relevant party and that three more reports were expected.

Once the four incident reports had been received, the matter was to be referred to Sharks CEO Van Zyl before Sanzar made a ruling.

There was clearly some confusion among the officials involved at the game and Van Zyl said that he hoped that Muir’s apology would end the matter.

Support for Muir’s version of events came from “neutral” match doctor Jonathan Patricios, who agreed that it was poor communication between the match officials in the stand and on the touchline that led to the bust-up.

“The Sharks manager alongside the field and the officials at the table [on the touchline] all agreed. But the official time-keepers told the referee that the 15 minutes was up and Lawrence said Du Plessis could not return. It was just a case of poor communication.”

There was one piece of good news for Muir yesterday. Tongan Epi Taione is finally on a plane bound for Durban from Japan.

Taione, who will probably be used by Muir as a powerful, ball-carrying loose forward, arrives in Durban this morning.

“He’s coming at a good time for us. With the bye this weekend, he can settle in. He will provide us with a powerful injection and adds further depth to the squad,” said Muir.

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