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Mauled Lions duo fly home
Adam Jones and Brian O'Driscoll leave tour as Springboks coach apologises over gouging.
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2009 15:21 GMT

De Villiers has apologised [GALLO/GETTY]
Two mainstays of the British and Irish Lions squad will return home injured amid a row about foul play on the tour.

Irishman Brian O'Driscoll and Welshman Adam Jones have both been ruled out of this weekend's third and final Test against South Africa.

Centre O'Driscoll suffered concussion in Saturday's second-Test defeat in Pretoria while prop Jones dislocated his shoulder in an incident that led to a two-week ban for Springbok lock Bakkies Botha.

It comes as the South African Rugby Union (Saru) apologised for comments made over the citing of flanker Schalk Burger after the second-Test win.

The Springboks, though, have decided to appeal against lock Botha's two-week suspension for a dangerous tackle on Jones.

Eye gouge

Burger was banned for eight weeks on Monday for gouging the eyes of Lions winger Luke Fitzgerald in Pretoria but Springbok coach Peter de Villiers defended his player with a series of controversial statements.

Saru have now released an official apology from president Oregan Hoskins and De Villiers saying they jointly condemned foul play.

"Eye-gouging is something that we as a team will never be part of"

Springboks coach Peter de Villiers

"We would like to apologise to the rugby community for the erroneous impression that acts of foul play are in any way condoned by South African rugby," Hoskins said.

"That has never been the case and is not now and we support strong action by rugby authorities when such acts occur.

"Rugby is a physical game and a hard game but it is a game that rightly prides itself on good sportsmanship and we at Saru categorically condemn any such action.

"Saru fully supports any action the IRB (International Rugby Board) feels appropriate to stamp out eye-gouging."

Not in the spirit

De Villiers said he was against anything that was not in the spirit of the game.

"Eye-gouging is something that we as a team will never be part of," he said.

"The same applies to biting, head-butting, spear tackling or any other foul play that doesn't belong in the game.

"My comments on Saturday were based on what I know of Schalk Burger as a player and not on what occurred.

"It was never my intention to suggest I condone foul play, that is the last thing I would ever do and I apologise for creating any other impression."

However, South Africa's backroom staff have criticised the decision to ban Botha, forwards coach Gary Gold calling it "preposterous".

O'Driscoll has flown home from his second-successive Lions tour after his 2005 captaincy was ended when he was injured in a spear tackle in the first minute of the first Test against New Zealand.

Source:
Agencies
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