All Black coach Steve Hansen has rightly commended Springbok captain Jean de Villiers for the way in which he handled the substitute mishap of Dane Coles in their Rugby Championship Test at Ellis Park on Saturday.
On the field there was some confusion and discussion well after the All Blacks had brought replacement hooker Dane Coles on for Andrew Hore in the 2nd half.
Coles had already been playing for about 20 minutes when the match referee, Nigel Owens, questioned why he was playing as his name was not on the official team list handed in before kick-off. It must however be noted that when the team was announced to the world in the week leading up to the game, Dane Coles was indeed named on the replacement bench. Keven Mealamu was however erroneously listed as the replacement hooker on the official team sheet, but New Zealand’s team manager Darren Shand, informed Nigel Owens that he had made a typing error.
A quick on-field discussion followed with Shand, De Villiers, Richie McCaw and Springbok team manager Ian Schwartz, to unravel the issue.
After some discussion Jean de Villiers indicated that they should just get on with proceedings and with Coles staying on the field.
Steve Hansen was quick to praise the Bok captain for his sportsmanship afterwards.
“The team list thing was a human error,” Hansen said. “Keven would never have played. It was wonderful that common sense prevailed. It doesn’t matter that someone made such a mistake. Jean was terrific when he entered the discussion. All credit to Jean for the sportsmanship he portrayed in that moment.”
Jean de Villiers had a little wry chuckle when he said points will be deducted from the All Blacks afterwards.
All in all it appears that New Zealand could be fined for the indiscrepancy but SANZAR is not expected to hand out any fother urther sanction.