‘It’s a disgrace to the game of rugby that a player can behave like that’

Former Springboks flyhalf Butch James has gone in hard on Wallabies scrumhalf Nic White following South Africa’s Rugby Championship loss to Australia.

The Wallabies’ 25-17 victory at the Adelaide Oval has blown the tournament open once again, but there was more than one incident that left a sour taste in South African mouths.

One moment in particular set tongues wagging.

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In the 39th minute Wallabies No.9 White ‘earned’ Australia a yellow card after he received a glancing blow to the mustache from opposite number Faf de Klerk.

White appeared to look up to the referee and then drop to the ground following the minor collision, leading many to believe that he had made the most of the contact to eke out a penalty.

Faf looked perplexed when Referee Paul Williams awarded him a yellow card for the incident and needless to say, it didn’t go down well with Boks’ fans or indeed the panel of experts on Super Sport in SA, who didn’t see the funny side of it.

Well-known South African sports pundit Mark Keohane said White should have been sent off, not de Klerk. “Nic White should have been carded for that Oscar … his most embarrassing moment of him as a professional.”

Reacting to the incident after the game, James told the panel on Super Sport that: “It’s a disgrace to the game of rugby that a player [Nic White] can behave like that. “

Fellow panelist Nick Mallett pointed out that De Klerk has set himself for a fall by making contact in the first place. “It’s stupid enough to have a swinging arm, he opened himself up to it,” said Mallett.

The incident of course became a talking point on Twitter, where many did see the funny side of it.

Former Scotland lock Jim Hamilton wrote: “Some men would rather be stripped naked in -40 degree temperatures live on tv than have their mustache slapped off.”

Squidge Rugby described it as a classic piece of scrumhalf skullduggery. “That’s an all-time bit of scrum-half play by Nic White. He turns an absolutely nothing moment into a yellow card by milking it so vigorously they now serve that moment in vegan cafes. “

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