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Springbok hooker 'feels sorry' for referee that sent him off

Bismarch du Plessis has come to the defence of Romain Poite after the French ref was slated for giving him his marching orders.

Romain Pite flashes the red card at Bismarck du Plessis.
Romain Pite flashes the red card at Bismarck du Plessis.
Image: INPHO/Photosport/Andrew Cornaga

SPRINGBOK HOOKER BISMARCK du Plessis has come to the defence of Romain Poite a week after the French referee sent him off against New Zealand.

Poite sin-binned du Plessis in the first half for a legal hit on All Blacks outhalf Dan Carter. He then gave the Sharks forward a second yellow, and a subsequent red, for what he deemed to be an elbow on flanker Liam Messam.

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen remarked at the end of the match, which went in team’s favour, that the yellow cards were slightly harsh. Carter, who is out of action for six weeks after landing badly from the du Plessis impact, also spoke up in favour of the South African.

The IRB then added flames to the fire of controversy enveloping Poite by publicly criticising the Frenchman. The red card was rescinded on Tuesday.

In an interview with The Star in South Africa, du Plessis said, “I have no hard feelings and bear no grudges… The reaction of world rugby has been extensive and with so much emotions being part of the game and part of being a rugby spectator it is understandable.

“It needs to be mentioned though that I am in no position to criticise anyone.” Du Plessis added:

I do not expect an apology. I have no doubt that Mr Poite had no ill intentions towards the Springboks or me..”

Du Plessis emphatised with Poite, noting that the negative commentary in the media must have had ‘an immense impact on him’. He added, “I feel sorry for him and I do not want him to be banished from the rugby fraternity or to be viewed as a ‘villain’. I bear no grudges against him and I have no doubt that he tried his best out there on the field.”

Here are the two incidents that earned du Plessis an early bath:

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Patrick McCarry

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