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De Villiers escapes punishment

Peter de Villiers will face no sanctions for his comments in a recent interview, after SANZAR dismissed the misconduct charge against him.

The South Africa coach was summoned to appear before judicial officer Jannie Lubbe in Cape Town last week following comments in an interview with Australia's Fox Sports 'Rugby Club' programme on July 21.

During the interview, De Villiers seemed to allege referees were showing bias towards New Zealand in light of the Springboks' second Tri-Nations loss to the All Blacks in as many weeks. But SANZAR (South Africa, New Zealand and Australia Rugby) judge Lubbe deemed him not guilty.

A statement from the body said: "Mr Lubbe heard the case on Friday 6 August 2010 and after considering the evidence decided that, on balance of probability, Mr De Villiers had not breached the SANZAR code of conduct.

"Mr Lubbe stated that during his interview with Fox Sports, Mr De Villiers never mentioned or referred to referees or match fixing.

"As the judicial process has concluded, SANZAR will not be making any further comment on the issue."

De Villiers' comments were directed at Irish officials Alan Lewis and Alain Rolland, but De Villiers later suggested that he was misinterpreted.

He had told the Australian channel: "I've got my own observations about the last two Tests, and I can't say it in public.

"But we do have a World Cup in New Zealand next year, and maybe it was the right thing for them to win the games so they can attract more people to the games next year."

The ruling means De Villiers will now be able to take his regular place on the sidelines when the world champions next face the New Zealanders on August 21.

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