The British & Irish Lions fullback Stuart Hogg has “categorically” denied accusations in the South African media and social media that he appeared to bite his South African counterpart Willie le Roux during Saturday’s fractious second test in Cape Town.
Video footage circulating on social media purporting to show Hogg biting his opposite number on the arm, which has been put up on South African media websites. The footage is not conclusive, though Le Roux appears to turn to the referee as if to indicate that he has been a victim of foul play.
In response, Hogg issued a statement on Sunday which read: “Following speculation that has surfaced online, I would like to categorically deny any foul play in last night’s game. I would never bite an opponent and I am annoyed and upset by this unsubstantiated accusation. I’ve always been proud of playing rugby in the spirit of the game.
“Respect to the Springboks for their deserved win yesterday. The squad is hurting after last night’s defeat, but it’s all to play for next week. It’s going to be a cup final and everyone’s going to be up for it.”
The Lions led 9-6 at half-time before being overpowered in the second period by the Springboks, who scored 21 unanswered points, and Maro Itoje, man of the match in the Lions’ first Test win, is also facing trial by social media and the South African media after appearing to press his knee down on the throat of the Springbok centre, Damian de Allende long after the ball had left the ruck.
The former England outhalf Andy Goode posted a video of the incident on twitter with the comment: “Not a great look from Maro Itoje is it?”
One South African rugby website speculated that the citing commissioner could be busy, but in continuing an ugly few days for the sport, that might extend to some Springboks players as well.
Both Cheslin Kolbe and Faf de Klerk were fortunate not to receive red cards. Kolbe took out Conor Murray in the air, for which he received a yellow card on the false premise by referee Ben O’Keeffe that he landed on his back.
However the citing commissioner may decide that further punishment is warranted.
De Klerk appeared to catch Conor Murray’s head with his right shoulder when making a tackle without properly wrapping his arms but somehow escaped censure by the South African TMO Marius Jonker and O’Keeffe.