Argentina's Leonardo Senatore faces biting charge

Tight and physical clash with South Africa is marred by the send-off of Leonardo Senatore, who could land a four-year suspension

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 August, 2013, 4:08am

Argentina loose forward Leonardo Senatore has been cited for allegedly biting the arm of South Africa lock Eben Etzebeth in their Rugby Championship clash.

The Springboks won the tight encounter in Argentina 22-17 but were unhappy with incidents in the game, with flank Francois Louw also claiming an attempted eye-gouging. Pablo Matera has been cited for that incident.

"Senatore is alleged to have contravened Law 10.4 (m) Acts contrary to good sportsmanship when he allegedly bit Eben Etzebeth," tournament governing body Sanzar said yesterday.

"Upon further review of the match footage, the citing commissioner deemed in his opinion the incident had met the red-card threshold for foul play."

Sanzar offered no details of when the disciplinary hearing would be held. The International Rugby Board's minimum ban for players found guilty of biting is 12 weeks, with a maximum sanction of four years.

The Springboks faced a shock defeat before two late second-half penalties from flyhalf Morne Steyn gave them the win over a vastly improved Argentina.

The Springboks, who scored nine tries in their 73-13 romp past the same opposition in Johannesburg the previous weekend, had to rely on Steyn's boot to get them over the line. Argentina led for much of the encounter after tries from flanker Juan Manuel Leguizamon and centre Marcelo Bosch, but indiscipline in the final 10 minutes allowed South Africa to edge ahead and hold on for victory.

"We've got mixed feelings ... We took a step forward with regard to last weekend since we radically changed our image and attitude," Leguizamon said. "But we lacked something to have won the match ... we needed to be a bit more disciplined with regard to the penalties."

Bosch said: "We're left with a bit of a sour taste, feeling we could have won it, but I think the team today still can feel successful for what they gave on the pitch."

Wing Bjorn Basson scored the visitors' only try, with Steyn kicking the rest of their points to take them to the top of the four-nation tournament's standings on points difference from titleholders New Zealand.

The Springboks and All Blacks have nine points after two rounds, with Argentina on a single point and Australia yet to break their duck after two defeats against New Zealand.

"I'm not at all surprised by what the Pumas did, they played very well, with a lot of passion playing typical Argentine rugby," South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer said.

It was South Africa's first away victory in the southern hemisphere's elite competition since beating New Zealand in Hamilton in 2009.