South African cricket officials have joined in on the taunting of David Warner about his wife Candice as the already heated series between the hosts and Australia threatens to escalate.
Warner and South African rival Quinton de Kock have been involved in a number of disputes during the test series, stemming from comments made by de Kock about Warner’s wife.
Candice Warner, then known as Candice Falzon, was involved in an infamous toilet tryst with dual-code star Sonny Bill Williams in a Sydney pub in 2007.
South African fans have taken to producing masks of Williams in an attempt to mock Warner during the second test in Port Elizabeth.
The Australian team are aware of the masks and are ‘outraged’, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Cricket South Africa’s head of commercial and marketing Clive Eksteen and communications chief Altaaf Kazi were photographed posing with three men wearing the masks.
Candice Warner is a spectator at the test match together with her young daughters Indi and Ivy.
Cricket South Africa reportedly overturned a decision by venue security to have the masks confiscated at entry, instead allowing people to wear them.
The Australian team was made aware of the masks after South African fans posted photos of themselves wearing them on social media.
Mr Kazi confirmed Cricket South Africa had made the decision to let fans bring the masks in to the ground.
He said he was asked by the fans to pose for a photo.
‘Initially security wouldn’t let them in,’ he said. ‘We found out because [the fans] contacted us and we then went to security and go them in. They said “lets take a photo with you guys”.’
Kazi said the photo didn’t mean Cricket South Africa endorsed the masks.
‘They’re fans. They wanted to come with them. People come in dressed as all sorts of things. We let people in with Hashim Amla beards.
‘We’re very clear from a stadium perspective that we monitor the behaviour and language of fans.’
Warner and de Kock’s spat began when the pair traded barbs as they walked toward the changing rooms during the first test in Durban.
Warner was caught on camera calling de Kock a ‘f**king sook’ as the players left the field at tea on day four of the first Test, before a tit-for-tat exchange turned ugly.
CCTV footage shows wicketkeeper Tim Paine struggling to restrain an irate Warner as he turns to confront the South African.
Warner broke his silence on the rampage on Thursday and vowed to continue to defend his family.
‘I cop it left, right and centre, especially off the field from spectators. I am used to that it doesn’t bother,’ he said.
‘I’ve been called everything under the sun out on the field and that, quite frankly, doesn’t bother me.
‘But in the proximity of my personal space and behind me, a comment that was vile and disgusting and about my wife – and just in general about a lady – was quite poor.
‘I responded emotionally and regretted the way it played out, but I’ll always stick up for my family.’
Warner insisted he didn’t intend for the confrontation to turn violent.
‘I just would have liked him to say the comment a little bit louder, instead of muttering it under his breath next to me and Tim Paine,’ he said.
CCTV images showed the final stages of the scrap in which Paine, Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja usher Warner into Australia’s changerooms.
Footage then came to light of Warner calling Quinton de Kock a ‘f**ing sook’ as the players headed off the ground.
He also referred to de Kock’s mother and sister as ‘bush pigs’, according to reports in South Africa.
But Warner has rejected the South Africa camp’s accusations that he subjected de Kock to personal abuse.
‘It is quite disappointing that they would come out and make that statement,’ he said.
Warner has accepted a level-two charge of bringing the game into disrepute.
He was fined $13,500 and given three demerit points, meaning he will cop an automatic suspension for any further misdeeds in the next two years.
South Africa unsuccessfully contested de Kock’s level-one charge for his role in the fracas, arguing provocation at Wednesday’s hearing.
Match referee Jeff Crowe ruled the original punishment should stand, with de Kock docked 25 per cent of his match fee and slapped with one demerit point.