All Black lock forward Brad Thorn has no remorse about his role in the groin injury that ruined Springbok captain John Smit’s rugby season.
Thorn showed no sympathy for Smit when he was asked here on Wednesday whether he was sorry about his spear tackle during the Tri-Nations Test match in Wellington on July 5, according to Stephen Nell on News24.
“I’m sorry that it cost my team three points and that I was suspended for a week,” said Thorn, who faces the Springboks again in the Tri-Nations Test at Newlands on Saturday.
South Africa lost the Wellington Test 8-19 and Thorn missed the return match in Dunedin the following week, when the Springboks recorded their first Test victory at Carisbrook, winning 30-28.
Thorn upended Smit after referee Stuart Dickinson had already blown his whistle early in the first match. He was later cited and found guilty only of “unsportsmanlike conduct”.
Smit was badly injured and he is likely to return to play only when the Springboks go on tour to the northern hemisphere at the end of the year.
Members of the Springbok camp were upset about the light punishment that Thorn received.
SA Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins also strongly criticised the apparent lack of consistency when Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis was suspended for three weeks for an incident in the Carisbrook Test.
Thorn, a key player in the All Black pack because of his physical approach, denied on Wednesday that he was a “dirty” player.
“I’ve been a professional sportsman for 14 years and it has been a clean career,” he said.
“Sometimes there is pressure around matches, and much contact. Things happen. One must accept it and move on.
“I spoke to John during the match and immediately afterwards. There were no ill feelings,” he added.
Dickinson, after watching video footage of the incident in Wellington, admitted that he would have shown Thorn a yellow card if he had a good view of what happened.
Thorn has been sent to the sin bin twice this season: during the Super 14 final and when New Zealand lost 19-34 to Australia recently.
If he receives another yellow card during the Tri-Nations series, he will have to face a disciplinary committee for being sent to the cooler three times during a Sanzar season.
Bakkies Botha, South Africa’s best counter to Thorn, is injured and will miss this week’s Test at Newlands.
However, Thorn feels Andries Bekker is up to the task of standing in for Botha.
“Bakkies brings a physical dimension to the game but they have brought in an absolute monster who will be playing on his home ground.
“I’m sure it’s going to be a big moment for Bekker. He has a great deal of talent. He has rather impressed me.”Tweet