x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

O'Driscoll 'repulsed' by De Villiers' comments

The Ireland centre slams the South Africa coach for defending Schalk Burger, who was banned for eye-gouging in the second Test against the British & Irish Lions last week.

DUBLIN // The Ireland centre Brian O'Driscoll has slammed the South Africa coach Peter de Villiers for defending Springboks flanker Schalk Burger, who was banned for eye-gouging in the second Test against the British & Irish Lions last week. "To hear the South African coach Peter de Villiers talk about gouging as being part of the game was semi-repulsive," O'Driscoll told Irish state radio on Wednesday.

"We are trying to promote the game and yet you hear comments like that. I just find it appalling. I truly find it a disgrace. "If it's not clamped down, you are going to lose people to the game of rugby and that's essentially the bigger picture." Burger was banned for eight weeks on Sunday for gouging the eyes of the Lions winger Luke Fitzgerald in the first minute of the Pretoria Test a day earlier.

De Villiers defended Burger after the incident and said that rugby was bound to feature more knocks than ballet. The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has since apologised for De Villiers' comments. O'Driscoll returned to Ireland on Wednesday as he was ruled out of this weekend's third and final Test after suffering concussion in last Saturday's defeat. South Africa lead the series 2-0. *Reuters