Exonerating Francois Steyn is a red card stain in Sanzar’s rap sheet reports Wynne Gray New Zealand Herald
It’s equally as bad that Sanzar has chosen to remove the red card from Steyn’s record in a decision which will encourage illegal gang tackling.
Clearing Steyn of any wrongdoing against the Chiefs is a rebuke for referee Angus Gardner and his assistant who initially and then after repeat video consultation, overruled the TMO and sent the Sharks midfield player off.
Referees are usually prudent about their judgments and would rather send players to the bin than send them from the field and leave a lopsided contest.
However, Gardner did not get that choice because of the reckless work of Hika Elliot, Bismarck du Plessis and Steyn. Their negligence left Gardner no alternative.
Open and shut case despite the attempted roadblock from the TMO.
Lubbe thought Steyn’s initial tackle was legitimate before several teammates’ assistance turned it into an illegal challenge. As if to legitimise that ruling, Lubbe then says Cruden’s first contact with the ground came through his right hand and upper arm. Additional video evidence and submissions helped him come to his verdict. If Lubbe wanted to deliver a tone of integrity he should have pinged Steyn for his illegal lifting tackle and summoned his teammates to answer similar charges.
We have no sanction for anyone involved in the illegal tackle on Cruden which could, without luck and Cruden’s ability to slow his fall, have had a more sinister ending.