Lions coach blasts 'pathetic' De Villiers

BRITISH and Irish Lions assistant coach Graham Rowntree has backed Brian O&rsquo;Driscoll&rsquo;s condemnation of South Africa boss Peter de Villiers.<br /><br />The Springboks coach infuriated the Lions by insisting flanker Schalk Burger had not deserved his yellow card for gouging Lions wing Luke Fitzgerald in the eyes during last weekend&rsquo;s second Test.<br /><br />Burger was later cited and banned for eight weeks, while De Villiers has since apologised for appearing to condone the act, considered the worst offence in the game.<br /><br />But O&rsquo;Driscoll, whose tour was ended by an injury sustained in that defeat, called the remarks &ldquo;despicable&rdquo;, and Rowntree yesterday echoed the Ireland centre.<br /><br />He said: &ldquo;It was completely out of order &ndash; crass, pathetic. It is ridiculous what he said. You cannot get away with making those comments.<br /><br />&ldquo;There is no room for gouging in the game. Why players would even do it with all the cameras that are around is beyond me. We are upset by it, but we are quite happy to move on. It has been done and dealt with.&rdquo;<br /><br />Burger&rsquo;s suspension means he will miss Saturday&rsquo;s third and final Test in Johannesburg, rendered meaningless by South Africa&rsquo;s series-clinching 28-25 win in Pretoria.<br /><br />Lock Bakkies Botha is also out, having been banned for two weeks for a challenge that left Lions prop Adam Jones with a dislocated shoulder.<br /><br />The absence from the front row of Jones and Gethin Jenkins, who sustained a fractured cheekbone in the second Test, could mean a recall for England pair Andrew Sheridan and Phil Vickery. Vickery has a throat infection but is expected to be available for the match.<br /><br />Lions staff are also optimistic that centre Jamie Roberts, who injured a wrist last time out, will be fit to play, while winger Tommy Bowe has recovered from his elbow problem enough to resume full training.<br /><br />Head coach Ian McGeechan, aiming to avoid a first series whitewash in the 118-year history between the sides, will name his team today.