Eben Etzebeth is free to play against England on Saturday after a disciplinary hearing cleared the South African of eye-gouging Scotland’s Greig Laidlaw at Murrayfield last weekend.
The Springbok lock was cited for allegedly making contact with the “eye or eye area” of the stand-off in the second half of his team’s 21-10 victory. The South African Rugby Union announced the verdict on their official Twitter page last night, saying: “Good news on Eben Etzebeth – he’s not guilty and free to play against England on Saturday.”
Etzebeth, 21, appeared before the independent judicial officer, David Martin, who ruled the contact with Laidlaw’s eyes was accidental. An official statement from the Six Nations, read: “The judicial officer held that the contact in the area of the Scotland player’s eyes was accidental and did not constitute foul play.”
England have dropped No 8 Thomas Waldrom, flanker Tom Johnson and wing Charlie Sharples from the squad that lost to Australia, while prop Joe Marler is injured. Alex Corbisiero, James Haskell, Ben Morgan and Jonathan Joseph join the squad. The England team is named tomorrow.