The Springboks have vehemently denied that Frans Malherbe is guilty of an alleged biting incident that occurred during Wednesday’s clash against the USA.
The English tabloid Daily Mail published a photo showing Malherbe with his mouth on the shoulder of American lock Matt Trouville. Springbok team manager Ian Schwartz refuted the allegation on Thursday, with World Rugby later confirming that Malherbe was not guilty of any wrongdoing.
‘From our side Frans definitely didn’t bite, if you look at it in real time you’ll see that,' Schwartz commented. 'It’s really a serious allegation, and what happened is not good for Frans, there’s reputation damage here and we’re not happy at all. But we’re in the hands of a fair system and I’m sure they’ll do their homework and there will be justice.
‘It’s a distraction, you don’t want to focus on things like that. Everyone in the squad is unhappy about it,’ he added.
Schwartz said Malherbe was very upset by the allegation, and that he had no idea of the incident when it was brought to his attention after the game.
‘He thought we were joking and laughed at first, but then we showed him the photo and he was shocked and devastated,’ Schwartz commented. ‘We’ve only heard [from the USA] that the player doesn’t know he was bitten, and there's no proof that he was bitten.’
When taken at face value, the picture might look damning, but Schwartz said a still shot such as that could be extremely misleading, particularly considering Trouville was cleaning Malherbe out from a ruck at the time.
Photo: Kevin Quigley/Sportsmail