Five former Springboks on whether South African players are being unfairly treated by Sanzar disciplinary committees.
WERNER SWANEPOEL (former Bok scrumhalf)
'South African players are being unfairly treated. What happened to Frans Steyn [being banned for five weeks for a tip tackle following an appeal by Sanzar] will never happen to an Australian or New Zealand player. Sure, the initial ruling [not guilty] was a slap on the wrist, but for Sanzar to go after him again confirms bias against South Africans. [Saru president] Oregan Hoskins was correct to talk about and take this matter further. Sanzar is a business and that business's heart lies in South Africa. We generate the most income of the three nations, yet our players always get the short-end of the stick. This is a great concern going forward, and I'm glad someone took responsibility and talked out.'
GAFFIE DU TOIT (former Bok flyhalf)
'In general I cannot really see how South African players are being unfairly treated. Most players don't have the intention to transgress this way because they are in the heat of the moment. Look, some supporters are not fond of Australia and New Zealand and therefore when a disciplinary comparison is made, we tend to become very emotional and biased. The most important thing to me is to keep all 15 players on the field and not penalise the whole team for one player's misconduct. Let the game go on and make judgements after the match whether fining or banning players. Maybe Oregan Hoskins should've waited until the end of the season to make an informed statement, if he then still felt our players were being treated unfairly.'
ANDRÉ PRETORIUS (former Bok flyhalf)
'There has always been the argument of South Africans receiving maximum bans as opposed to Australian or New Zealand players who get minimum punishments. Our players, especially the Springboks, are always under the spotlight and they should act accordingly and make discipline the main priority. All players are deserving of equal treatment. When Frans Steyn was cleared of his offence, Sanzar asked for an appeal, which resulted in the five-week ban. I've never seen or heard of a [not guilty] decision such as this one overruled. Oregan Hoskins is well within his rights to stand up to this treatment and if he didn't then this issue would have gone on forever.'
CHRISTIAAN SCHOLTZ (former Bok centre)
'There is a leniency towards Australasian players. It's always been the case, or that's how it feels. I'm not saying these punishments [given to South Africans] are harsh and undeserved, they are not. But there is no consistency in Sanzar's judicial processes and outcomes. Where is the fairness in lodging an appeal against one person for an incident where there could be three guilty parties – Frans Steyn, Ryan Kankowski and Cobus Reinach for the tip tackle on Aaron Cruden – but then turning a blind eye for a clear choke hold by an individual [Liam Messam on Renaldo Bothma]. Many believe South Africans are being treated differently and at the moment Sanzar can't pull out one reference to prove otherwise. Perhaps going public was Oregan Hoskins's last resort. He might've already raised the matter with Sanzar previously. Hopefully he is the voice of change.'
WERNER GREEFF (former Bok fullback)
'I disagree with the sentiment that Saffas are held to a different set of rules. But everyone is entitled to an opinion and if Oregan Hoskins feels local players are targeted, he was within his rights to criticise the governing body. It's always easier to come up with conspiracy theories than face reality. We've been the most ill-disciplined sides in the competition and have been rightly punished. Yes, there were a few instances where Australasian players got off lightly, but most of those indiscretions were isolated, whereas Bismarck du Plessis, Jean Deysel and Frans Steyn are repeat offenders.'
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