WALLABIES HEAD COACH Michael Cheika has backed David Pocock after his stand against homophobic comments made during last weekend’s Super Rugby clash between the Brumbies and Waratahs.
Pocock twice complained to referee Craig Joubert during the ‘Tahs win over Pocock’s Brumbies about alleged homophobic slurs.Source: WORLD NEWS/YouTube
Waratahs’ South Africa second row Jacques Potgieter has since been fined $20,000 [almost €15,000] by the Australian Rugby Union for making homophobic comments during the fixture at Allianz Stadium in Sydney on Sunday.
While the ARU did not reveal exactly which term Potgeiter had directed at Brumbies players, many Australian media outlets are reporting that it was the word “faggot.”
As well as his fine - $10,000 of which is suspended - Potgeiter will “be required to undergo additional education and awareness training,” says the ARU.
Potgeiter has issued an apology for his language via the Waratahs’ official website:
I’m very sorry for any offence caused by what I said on the field during a heated encounter,” said the second row. “It was an offhand remark made without thought for the hurt it could cause to those around me.
The ARU’s CEO, Bill Pulver, stated: “I’d like to stress again that there is absolutely no place for homophobia or any form of discrimination in our game and our actions and words on and off the field must reflect that.”
Alarmingly, former Wallaby captain Pocock has come under criticism from some quarters for addressing the issue with referee Joubert during Sunday’s game, with some commentators believing he should have waited until after the final whistle to do so.
More depressingly, Pocock has been met with homophobic outrage by some anonymous internet commenters who feel there was no need to address the issue.
Former Brumbies wing Clyde Rathbone yesterday published a scathing satire of the criticism Pocock has faced on The Roar, while Cheika has now stated that he has no issue with the flanker’s opinions.
“I don’t want rugby to be full of robots and people who don’t have an opinion on things,” the ex-Leinster coach told Georgina Robinson of the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I respect people who have their own opinions – some people have got more confidence to broadcast them and some people like to keep them to themselves – but I want characters in the team.”