Stuart Hogg denies ‘biting’ allegation

Lions full-back was subjected to trial by social media following defeat by Springboks

Stuart Hogg during Scotland's Captain's Run this [Saturday] afternoon. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Stuart Hogg has insisted he did not commit any act of foul play in second Test. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

STUART Hogg has rejected claims made on social media last night that he bit South African full-back Willie le Roux during the Lions’ 27-9 defeat in Cape Town. Video clips showing the Scotland captain and Le Roux squaring up to each other were shared widely on social media, but Hogg angrily insisted that he had not done anything untoward. 

“Following speculation that has surfaced online, I would like to categorically deny any foul play in last night’s game,” the Lions No 15 said in an official statement issued by the tourists this morning. “I would never bite an opponent and I am annoyed and upset by this unsubstantiated accusation. I’ve always been proud of playing rugby in the spirit of the game.

“Respect to the Springboks for their deserved win yesterday. The squad is hurting after last night’s defeat, but it’s all to play for next week. It’s going to be a cup final and everyone’s going to be up for it.”

Hogg could still face action over the alleged incident in the second Test if the citing commissioner decides he – or Le Roux, for that matter – has a case to answer. Lions lock Maro Itoje is in a similar position after allegations that he kneeled on Damien de Allende’s neck as the Springboks centre lay on the ground.

According to World Rugby’s rules, citing commissioners normally have 48 hours after a match to decide if any further disciplinary action should be taken. That nominal time limited can be greater, although in this case, with the third and final Test due to take place on Saturday, any decisions are expected sooner rather than later.

“A Citing Commissioner is an independent official, appointed by the competition organiser, the union in which the match is taking place, or World Rugby,” the global governing body says.  “They are responsible for citing players who commit any act of foul play which warrants a Red Card sanction.

“Citing Commissioners may cite players for an act(s) of foul play detected by the Match Officials (referee, assistant referee or TMO) and which may have been the subject of referee action. As a general rule, the Citing Commissioner should carefully consider the actions taken by the Match Officials and support the on-field decision and only consider taking action if it is ‘clear and obvious’, based on all the evidence available to the Citing Commissioner post-match, that the player actions justify a citing (red card equivalent) or Citing Commissioner Warning.

“A Citing Commissioner may not cite a player for an act(s) of foul play when the player has been sent off except where the sending off is a consequence of two yellow cards. A player in that situation may also be cited for the act(s) of foul play which resulted in either or both yellow card(s).

“Citing Commissioners may cite a player if they have been temporarily suspended (yellow card). Such citing may be made in respect of the incident(s) for which the player was temporarily suspended or otherwise.”

That last point means that Springboks winger Cheslin Kolbe could still be cited for taking Conor Murray out in the air – an action for which he was shown a yellow card. Other off-the-ball incidents in an ill-tempered match could also be examined.

About Stuart Bathgate 1002 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.

9 Comments

  1. Might I suggest it would prove tricky biting an opponent wearing a gum shield – I didn’t see Hogg spitting his out with a view to a wee chomp.
    On other sites nameless, the inevitable cross national finger pointing is going on with Hogg occupying prime placing as a target. I’m a big fan of Hogg’s and think he is a world class attacking threat but him and DVM are wasted in that stuffy, kicking gameplan. For that particular plan a defensive FB solid under the high ball is needed, Williams probably the closest thing the Lions have yet his form isn’t great and he’s nothing like as good as Hogg going forward.
    The Lions don’t have the personnel to arm wrestle the Boks within the context of such a plan – arguably no team has. Strangely, it is actually a Toony brand I believe would meet with more success. While he is the attacking coach, what I am seeing is ‘Warrenball’ which won them the first test due to the Springboks not being match fit at that point. The Boks defend narrow so there is space out wide for Hoggs and Duhan’s. Put simply, right players in the wrong gameplan.

    • Totally agree with your assessment Donald. It’ll be interesting to see whether the approach changes for the deciding Test and, if it does, I would love to see Finn Russell come into the equation, albeit most likely off the bench.

  2. This dual by Twitter has set an extremely bad example to the Saffer players and they are following it. They are better than that, surely, while frankly Erasmus should have been fined for his social media outburst. It is a disgrace to world rugby’s reputation and such behaviour belongs in the gutter. If you have a genuine rap, then don’t bitch about it online – where the accused has no dignified means of defending themselves.

  3. Kolbe should be cited. O’Keefe is generally excellent but he said Murray landed on his back which is just not accurate.

    Erasmus and to a lesser extent Gatland have been a disgrace with their so-called mind games. Let’s hope both the conduct and the rugby are better next week.

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    • Agree, I was disappointed in O’Keefe yesterday, maybe Erasmus’ video had the desired effect?

      Gatland needs a plan B for next week or we’re stuffed. Let’s hope that plan involves Russell, at least it would be more interesting !

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