Leonardo Senatore cited for alleged biting

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WORCESTER Warriors and Argentina loose-forward Leonardo Senatore has been cited for allegedly sinking his teeth into the arm of South Africa lock Eban Etzebeth in a Rugby Championship clash in Mendoza on Saturday.

The Springboks won the feisty encounter 22-17 but were unhappy with a number of incidents in the game, with flanker Francois Louw also claiming an attempted eye-gouging.

“Senatore is alleged to have contravened Law 10.4 (m), acts contrary to good sportsmanship, when he allegedly bit South African player 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.

South Africa had faced a shock defeat in the match before two late second-half penalties from fly-half Morne Steyn gave them victory.

The Springboks, who had scored nine tries in their 73-13 romp past the same opposition in Johannesburg last 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 ten 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.”

Winger 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 title holders 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.

Earlier on Saturday, New Zealand winger Ben Smith followed up last week’s hat-trick of tries in Sydney with two more as the All Blacks capitalised on their opportunities to beat Australia 27-16 and retain the Bledisloe Cup.

Debutant fly-half Tom Taylor put on an assured display with 14 points and a composed performance in general play, while Israel Dagg added a penalty when his Crusaders team-mate was receiving medical treatment for a rib injury late in the game.