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Super Rugby

Crusaders angered by eye-gouging claims

Crusaders angered by eye-gouging claims

CRUSADERS COACH Todd Blackadder and captain Kieran Read are angered by the Bulls’ eye-gouging allegations.

Blackadder called the claims a deliberate “negative ploy” to unsettle his players, while Read says they are a “kick in the guts because we’re men of integrity”.

Bulls forwards Chiliboy Ralepelle and Flip van der Merwe told referee Jaco Peyper they had been gouged either side of halftime during their side’s 32-30 victory over the red and blacks at Loftus Versfeld yesterday.

Peyper white-carded the incidents, which referred them to a SANZAR citing officer in South Africa, but he decided there was no evidence and no case to answer.

“They are two very serious allegations,” says Blackadder.

“The first one with Chiliboy, you would expect that the player would come out of the breakdown holding his eye, but he certainly didn't. I wonder whether it was a negative ploy.”

He feels the allegations have besmirched the Crusaders players' reputations and they would possibly now come under greater scrutiny from match officials.

Captain Kieran Read echoed his coach’s sentiments.

“Initially I was really surprised at the allegations. It has now come out that there's no case to answer. It's a kick in the guts to us because we're men of integrity and it's no surprise that it's turned out the way it has.”

The Crusaders play the unbeaten Stormers in Christchurch this Saturday.

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