SANZAR boss Greg Peters has "sought and received" assurances from SA that they are not pulling the wool over everybody's eyes with the team that will travel to Australasia for the away leg of the Tri-Nations. Carter ready to 'drop in' on WC | Other news...
The Australian Rugby Union on Thursday questioned the legitimacy of most of the 21 injury withdrawals announced by Springbok coach Peter de Villiers on Wednesday.
Regular Bok captain John Smit will lead a decidedly second-string selection on the away leg of the Tri-Nations series - with players like Fourie du Preez (knee), Schalk Burger (thumb), Victor Matfield (calf and neck), Frans Steyn (ankle and back), Jaque Fourie (groin), Jean de Villiers (groin), BJ Botha (knee), Juan Smith (Achilles), Bismarck du Plessis (shoulder), Andries Bekker (shoulder, groin and ankle), Jannie du Plessis (knee), Gurthrö Steenkamp (forearm), Francois Hougaard (ankle), Butch James (knee), JP Pietersen (back), Tendai Mtawarira (hamstring), Bryan Habana (shoulder) and Bakkies Botha (knee) all ruled out through 'injuries'.
This prompted the ARU to call on SANZAR to investigate whether the withdrawals for the matches against the Wallabies (in Sydney on July 23) and All Blacks (in Wellington a week later) are legitimate.
However, Peters dismissed the ARU's fears.
"We have sought and received assurances from South Africa that they will field their best available team in the Tri-Nations," Peters told this website on Thursday.
The SANZAR CEO said he has "no reason" to doubt the veracity of the 21 Bok injuries.
"The list is longer than we had hoped for," Peters said, adding: "But there are clear and unambiguous injuries in that team."
Peters said he had "sought and received" the assurances from South Africa following media reports of the lengthy Bok injury list and was before the ARU's outburst.
It is not the first time the Australians have been up in arms about a second-string Bok team arriving Down Under.
ARU Chief Executive John O'Neill was left fuming in 2007 when the Springboks, in a bid to keep their best players fresh ahead of the World Cup, selected a second-string squad for their Tri-Nations clash in Australia.
At the time, O'Neill labelled South Africa's ploy as "simply not in the spirit of the game".
The ARU left no doubt that they feel the Boks are "resting players" and that not all the injuries are legitimate.
"The SANZAR joint venture is quite specific about the three countries [South Africa, New Zealand and Australia] making best endeavours to field their best available teams and we also have that assurance in writing from the SARU Chief Executive," an ARU spokesperson said on Wednesday.
"We can't comment from here on what their injury status is, but I'm sure the SANZAR administration will take that up with SARU."
By Jan de Koning
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