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Steyn gets 4 weeks for high tackle on Sexton

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South African Francois Steyn will have to sit out for the next four weeks after he was suspended by an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Paris on Wednesday

Steyn was sent off by referee, JP Doyle (England), for a dangerous tackle on the Leinster fly-half, Johnny Sexton, in the 30th minute of the match in contravention of Law 10.4 (e).

Law 10.4 (e) Dangerous tackling

Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 10.4 (e), Dangerous Tackling of an opponent, carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-Range: 6 weeks; Top End: 10 to 52 weeks.

An independent Disciplinary Committee consisting of Antony Davies (England), Chairman, Julien Berenger (France) and Pamela Woodman (Scotland), heard submissions from Steyn, who pleaded guilty to the offence, from the Montpellier legal representative, Christian Chevalier, from the Montpellier Chief Executive, Mathieu Charpentier, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.

The Committee upheld the red card decision, and as the dangerous tackle resulted in reckless contact with the head, it was obliged to find that the offence was at the mid-range of the relevant sanctions as now required by World Rugby.

Six weeks was therefore selected as the entry point and taking into account Steyn’s guilty plea and timely expression of remorse, the Committee reduced the sanction by two weeks before imposing a four-week suspension.

Steyn is free to play on Monday, March 6. Both the player and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.

Meanwhile the Leinster player, Hayden Triggs, has been suspended for three weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Paris.

Triggs was cited by the match Citing Commissioner, Stefano Marrama (Italy), for making contact with the eye area of the Montpellier scrum-half, Nic White (number nine), in the 44th minute of the match in contravention of Law 10.4 (m).

An independent Disciplinary Committee consisting of Antony Davies (England), Chairman, Julien Berenger (France) and Pamela Woodman (Scotland), heard submissions from Triggs, who pleaded guilty to the offence, from the Leinster Rugby legal representative, Derek Hegarty, from the Leinster Rugby Head of Rugby Operations, Guy Easterby, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.

In upholding the citing complaint, the Committee determined that the charge was specifically for contact with the eye area, and not for contact with the eye(s) which now carries a different set of sanction entry point tariffs.

Law 10.4 (m) Acts contrary to good sportsmanship – contact with the eye area

Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 10.4 (m), contact with the eye area, carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 4 weeks; Mid-range: 8 weeks; Top end: 12 to 52 weeks.

The Committee then decided that the offence was at the low end of World Rugby’s sanctions and selected four weeks as the appropriate entry point.

Taking into account Triggs’ guilty plea and his expression of remorse, the Committee reduced the sanction by one week before imposing a three-week suspension.

Triggs is free to play on Monday, February 20. Both the player and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.

Fekitoa banned, Cane and Sanchez free to play

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All Blacks will have to be without Malakai Fekitoa this weekend when they take on France but star flanker Sam Cane are free to play.

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Fekitoa appeared on Tuesday in London before an independent Disciplinary Committee, having been cited by an independent Citing Commissioner for an allegedly dangerous tackle in contravention of Law 10.4 (e) in the match between Ireland and New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

He accepted that he had commited foul play and it was seen as a red card offence.

Fekitoa accepted that he had committed an act of foul play but asserted that it would not have warranted a red card. The Disciplinary Committee, chaired by Antony Davies (England), alongside Derek Bevan (Wales) and John Doubleday (England), viewed video footage of the incident, listened to evidence and representations from and on behalf of the player, and reviewed all of the other evidence.

They then found that Fekitoa’s actions would have warranted a red card, albeit that he had acted recklessly rather than intentionally. When considering sanction, the Disciplinary Committee concluded that the offending merited a low-end entry point based on World Rugby’s scale of seriousness, which carries a two-week playing suspension.

The Disciplinary Committee further found that there were no aggravating factors and that there were a number of mitigating factors (including Mr Fekitoa’s immediate acknowledgement of wrongdoing, his previous clean disciplinary record and his good conduct at the hearing) such that his playing suspension be reduced to one week.

Fekitoa is therefore suspended from playing rugby for a total of one week, up to and including Sunday, November 27.

Meanwhile Cane also appeared on Tuesday in London before an independent Disciplinary Committee having been cited for allegedly tackling an opponent dangerously in contravention of Law 10.4 (e).

Cane did not accept that he had committed an act of foul play.

The Disciplinary Committee, chaired by Antony Davies (England), alongside Derek Bevan (Wales) and John Doubleday (England), having viewed video footage of the incident, listened to evidence and representations from and on behalf of the player, and reviewed all of the other evidence, concluded that Cane’s actions had been accidental and that he had not therefore committed an act of foul play.

The citing complaint was not upheld and Cane is therefore free to resume playing immediately.

Meanwhile Argentina also got some good news when Nicolás Sánchez was found not guilty of striking at his hearing.

Sánchez was cited for allegedly striking an opponent in the 38th minute of the second-half in his team’s defeat to Scotland at Murrayfield.

But a statement on Tuesday has cleared the playmaker of the offence and he is now free to face England at Twickenham on Saturday.

 “He appeared before an independent Disciplinary Committee (appointed by World Rugby) in London on Tuesday and accepted that he had committed an act of foul play but asserted that it would not have warranted a red card,” it read.

“The Disciplinary Committee, chaired by Antony Davies (England), alongside Bonike Erinle (England) and Derek Bevan (Wales), viewed video footage of the incident, listened to evidence and representations from and on behalf of the player, and reviewed all of the other evidence.

“The Committee then concluded that although Sanchez had committed an act of foul play, he had done this as part of an attempt to free himself from the illegal grasp of an opponent and that in any event, it would not have warranted a red card – no sanction was imposed.”

Source: Planet Rugby

Lood de Jager suspended for one match

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Lood de Jager has been suspended from possible participation in the Springboks’ next match against the Barbarians in London on 5 November, SANZAAR announced on Monday.

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SANZAAR Duty Judicial Officer Adam Casselden SC accepted a guilty plea from De Jager for contravening Law 10.4 (h): “A player must not charge into a ruck or maul”. Charging includes any contact made without use of the arms, or without grasping a player.

De Jager was cited following the Castle Lager Rugby Championship match against New Zealand in Durban on Saturday, having been yellow carded for the incident which took place in the 72nd minute. De Jager has been suspended from all forms of the game for one match up to and including Saturday 5 November 2016.

SANZAAR Duty Judicial Officer Adam Casselden SC assessed the case. In his finding, Mr Casselden SC ruled the following:

“Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence including submissions from his legal representative, I accepted the player’s admission that he had committed an act of foul play contrary to law 10.4(h).

With respect to sanction I deemed the act of foul play merited a low-end entry point of two weeks. However, taking into account mitigating factors including the player’s early plea and his excellent disciplinary record I reduced the suspension to a period of one week.”

“The player accepted my indication of sanction of one week, and is therefore suspended from all forms of rugby up to and including 5 November 2016 when he is next scheduled to play.  The player is free to resume playing from 6 November 2016.”

Mtawarira issued a warning

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Tendai Mtawarira of South Africa has been issued with a Citing Commissioner Warning for contravening Law 10.4(e) Dangerous tackling around an opponents neck.

Mtawarira grasped Wallaby No.8, David Pocock by the neck in attempting to clear him out during the 21st minute of The Rugby Championship match between Australia and South Africa played at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane on Saturday 10 September, 2016.

A Citing Commissioner Warning may be issued by the SANZAAR Citing Commissioner for foul play incidents that are very close to, but in his opinion do not meet the Red Card threshold for citings.

In this case the referee for the match did act upon the incident and awarded a penalty. Upon further review of the match footage the Citing Commissioner deemed a Citing Commissioner Warning was appropriate

Zas gets two weeks for tackle

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The SANZAAR Duty Judicial Officer Nigel Hampton QC has accepted a guilty plea from Leonil Zas of the Stormers for contravening Law 10.4 Tackling, tapping, pushing or pulling an Opponent jumping for the ball in a lineout or in open play, after he was Red Carded during a Super Rugby Match at the Weekend.

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Zas made contact with Waratahs #10 Bernard Foley who was in the air attempting to catch a ball during the match between the Stormers and Waratahs at DHL Newlands, Cape Town on 30 April, 2016.

As has been suspended from all forms of the game for two weeks up to and including Saturday 14 May 2016.

SANZAAR Duty Judicial Officer Nigel Hampton QC assessed the case. In his finding, Hampton ruled the following:

” Leonil Zas (the player) and his representatives appeared before me and admitted a breach of the Law 10.4(I) charge.

“I found it was a lower end offence on the basis that the video footage showed the Player’s right foot slipping as he was readying to compete for the ball in the air. This resulted in him moving on through and under the opposing player, causing that player to fall dangerously to the ground. Fortunately the opposing player was uninjured. The low end entry point for the sanction was a three week suspension.

“There were no aggravating factors.

“As to mitigation, I took into account the Player’s youth and his early guilty plea, as well as his already expressed apology and his contrition. I allowed a reduction of one week, making a suspension from all rugby of two weeks, up to and including Saturday 14 May 2016.

Bond gets four-week suspension for red card

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Sunwolves lock Timothy Bond has been suspended for a month after the SANZAAR Duty Judicial Officer Michael Heron QC accepted his guilty plea for contravening Law 10.4 (e) – Dangerous tackling of an opponent – after he was red carded in the match between the Stormers and the Sunwolves at Newlands on Friday.

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Bond attempted to tackle Stormers full-back Cheslin Kolbe, but made contact late and high. Referee Nic Berry issued Bond with a red card for the offence.

Bond has been suspended from all forms of the game for four weeks – until May 7.

SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Michael Heron QC assessed the case.

In his finding, Heron ruled the following:

“I conducted the DJO process with Timothy Bond, Shogo Tanaka san, Mark Hammett (each of the Sunwolves) and Mr Bond’s legal representative, Mary-Jane Crabtree of Allens in Melbourne.

“The player confirmed that he was trying to tackle the player in a “smother” tackle and tried to pull-out when he knew that the Stormers player had passed the ball.

“I indicated that in my view the tackle was high, late and with only one arm potentially engaged. The shoulder of Mr Bond connected with the player’s head.

“I accepted that it was not an intentional or pre-meditated action, but in my view given the combination of features, I considered it was reckless.

“The player was in a vulnerable position and left the field as a result. I indicated that I saw this as mid-range, and warranting an entry point of 6 weeks under Appendix 1. I did not consider there were other aggravating features present. He checked on the Stormers player and apologised to him.

“Mr Bond has a relatively good disciplinary record, although has a recent citing for which he received a one-week suspension. He is aware of the dangers of concussion and was clear as to his lack of intention to put a player in jeopardy of that.

“I did not see his record as an aggravating factor and his overall conduct and history was of some mitigation.

“In the circumstances, particularly in light of the early guilty plea, I was willing to discount the relevant sanction to a period of four weeks’ suspension, through and including the playing weekend of 7-8 May.

“I was advised that one of those weeks was a bye week but that Mr Bond would have been available to play and could have been expected to play for the Japan XV against South Korea in Yokohama on that weekend. Other Sunwolves players will be playing. On that basis I accepted that week as a week which counted.

“On that basis, Mr Bond is suspended from all forms of rugby through to and including May 7.”

Bond will eligible for selection on May 14 when the Sunwolves host the Stormers in Singapore.

Striking player multiple times – One week suspension?

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1458462841319No it is not April Fools day yet, we keep that specially for SARU when they hopefully announce the new man to coach the Springboks, but it might feels like it is after Chris Morris gave Josh Mann-Rea a one week suspension after striking a player multiple times on Saturday at Newlands.

The game of rugby is in serious trouble if a player can strike another player in the face multiple times and gets a one week suspension. How do any person justify striking a player not once, not twice but three times in the face and get away with a slap on the wrist?

Where is the welfare of the player in this?

It is unbelievable that a player can be suspended for a dangerous tackle that happens in the moment of the game for six weeks and longer but when a player clearly punch another in the face multiple times no one at SANZAAR seemed to think that it is dangerous.  In the civil world  the charge for someone doing that will be assault to do bodily harm, from the little I know about the law.

I would like to know what is the difference from striking a player to eye gouging? Both of these incidents is done to cause harm to another player.

TMO decisions, referee decisions have become a joke in recent weeks and now we can include the Judicial Officers as well in this years Super Rugby. SANZAAR need to sort this out or they will loose all credibility. Supporters are not stupid, all that this is doing, is drive more supporters away from the game because we have no consistency.

Chris Morris had this to say to justify his 1 week suspension.

The SANZAAR Duty Judicial Officer Chris Morris has accepted a guilty plea from Josh Mann-Rea of the Brumbies for contravening Law 10.4 (a) Punching or striking in an incident that occurred in the 63rd minute during the match between the Stormers and Brumbies at DHL Newlands on 19 March 2016.

Mann-Rea was red carded as a result of the incident. Mann-Rea has been suspended from all forms of the game for one week, up to and including Sunday 27 March 2016. SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Chris Morris assessed the case.

In his finding, Morris ruled the following: “After initially reviewing the video footage, send off reports and other relevant materials, I heard from the player and his representatives.

 The player accepted a breach of the punching and striking law and identified the various factors involved in the incident.

“I considered the incident and the submissions made by the players representatives and formed the view that the offence had an entry point in the low end range which starts at a two-week suspension.  “I did not consider there to be any aggravating factors to take into account. I did take the player admitting guilt for the offence into account as a mitigating factor. This entitles the player up to a 50 per cent reduction in sanction which I applied.

This results in a one week suspension being imposed on the player.  “The player is accordingly found to have contravened Law 10.4 (a) and is suspended for one week up to and including Sunday 27 March 2016.”
 

Give us your view….

No Action against NZ Sevens eight man try

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World Rugby has stated that the New Zealand Sevens side will not be charged with misconduct after fielding an extra man against Australia in Sydney last weekend….reports SARugbyMAG.co.za

The investigation into an alleged breach of law three, undertaken by the designated disciplinary official, has determined that, while New Zealand did field eight players, it was an ‘inadvertent breach’ as a consequence of a number of factors relating to the management of replacements involving a number of parties.

While law 3.2 provides for the sanction of a penalty kick where a team fields more than the maximum number of players, a World Rugby statement on Thursday suggested ‘the referee was not aware of the additional New Zealand player on the pitch prior to the conclusion of the match’.

‘World Rugby’s misconduct process caters for unsporting actions, cheating and ill-discipline [among other behaviours], which are at a level that bring or have the potential to bring the game into disrepute,’ the statement continued. ‘Having fully investigated the incident, the designated disciplinary officer has concluded that the laying of a misconduct charge is not appropriate or warranted given the circumstances as the threshold had not, in his determination, been met.’

In conclusion, World Rugby reiterated their commitment to ensuring that there is no such repetition of the breach and that they would aim to ensure that all teams and officials pay particular attention to the process of replacement management.

World Rugby conducted an investigation into assistant referee Craig Joubert and the other match officials after the incident took place.

Disciplinary farce hurts RWC credibility

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A wonderful World Cup endured probably its lowest moment on Tuesday following four new incomprehensible disciplinary decisions….reports Planet Rugby

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The gap between the haves and the have nots appears to be getting wider as disciplinary hearings hand out minimal sanctions to players from the leading nations while the lower tier teams are offered no such clemency.

More than that though, it’s the inconsistency across the board which is infuriating, as some offences are deemed tournament-ending, while the exact same offence is ignored elsewhere.

One trend is clear though, with World Rugby determined to cut down on dangerous tackles and clearouts – 11 players have been banned for these incidents so far – while deliberate violent play seems far less of a priority.

So basically, punch away with impunity, don’t even think about a high tackle, unless your name is Sam Burgess that is.

We’ve taken a look at some of the most high profile calls made in the tournament so far:

Sean O’Brien – one week for striking Pascal Papé

This was the one everyone was waiting for yesterday. O’Brien, who had thrown a punch at Papé’s ribs in the first minute of Ireland’s clash with France on Sunday, risked between two and 52 weeks of suspension. Many wild theories emerged as to the reason for the punch, including some disgusting insinuations against Papé, but video evidence showed that was minimal provocation for the punch. Others argued that O’Brien used an open hand rather than a closed fist, although the charge 10.4(a) from World Rugby defines the action as ‘Striking another Player with a hand, arm or fist’. Judicial officer Terry Willis deemed an unprovoked punch to the ribs to be a low-end offence, meaning a ban of two weeks. That was reduced to one because of O’Brien’s good behaviour at the hearing – it’s surely time for this to be binned off as a reason for reducing bans – his remorse, his good character, and of course his previous clean record.

The previous clean record is obviously a key factor here, and it’s where previous disciplinary whitewashes become a factor. In 2011 O’Brien was somehow not cited for a vicious elbow on Yannick Nyanga. While he is clearly held in the incident below, that shouldn’t have been enough to avoid any such sanction. As a result, he not only played in a Heineken Cup final three weeks later, but four years on that error has played a key part in him being available for a potential World Cup semi-final.

Jonny Gray and Ross Ford – three weeks for a lifting tackle

The second of Tuesday’s hearing outcomes to emerge was the news that Scottish pair Jonny Gray and Ross Ford will miss the rest of the tournament because of a dangerous clearout on Jack Lam in their game against Samoa. The first team that should be angry about this is Japan, who missed out on a quarter-final because of Scotland’s win over Samoa. That result would no doubt have been very different if Scotland had played the last 22 minutes with 13 men, as the citing implies they should have done.

Dangerous clearouts are clearly a priority for World Rugby, but apparently not on the pitch, given referee Jaco Peyper’s words to Ford after giving a penalty for holding on. Peyper told Ford: “He survived, you lifted his legs but he survived.” The incident certainly doesn’t look great for the Scottish pair, although Ford seems to be desperately unlucky as he’s paying the price for Gray lifting Lam’s legs.

The bigger issue is that these sorts of clearouts occur in most games. While Ford and Gray will play no further part in the tournament, this effort from Francois Louw went unpunished.

Marcelo Bosch – one week for a dangerous tackle

Arguably the most outrageous decision of the day saw Marcelo Bosch banned for just a week for a tip tackle on Theuns Kotzè. In about as a clear-cut an example of a tip tackle as you could hope to see, Bosch was somehow charged with a dangerous tackle (10.4e), rather than a lifting tackle (10.4j). The difference is significant, with bans for the former beginning at two weeks (before mitigation), rather than four. Had Bosch been charged with the latter, as he clearly should have been, his tournament would have been over.

It’s also another case where a red card should have been handed out on the day, with Bosch escaping because referee Pascal Gauzère felt Kotzè landed on his chest. The most obvious, and famous comparison is that of Sam Warburton four years ago in the semi-final on Vincent Clerc. Warburton was unfortunate in that for once a referee actually made the correct decision, and he still got the three-week ban to boot.


Alesana Tuilagi – five weeks reduced to two for leading with the knee

Without doubt the most contentious decision of the tournament, Alesana Tuilagi’s Test career came to an end when he was charged with ‘Striking with the knee’, which also falls under 10.4(a). Tuilagi was initially handed a five-week ban, later reduced to two. Given that Samoa had just one remaining game, the reduction made no impact on Tuilagi at the tournament, though his club Newcastle will be grateful.

Tuilagi was deemed by judicial officer Antony Davies to have run in a manner that was not his ‘normal running style’. The Samoan winger appeared to lift his knee into a tackle from Harumichi Tatekawa, although it was nowhere near as high as Jonny May’s leap before England’s final try against Fiji in the opening game of the tournament, and certainly nothing compared to Napolioni Nalaga’s effort which was deemed worthy of a yellow card only in a Heineken Cup game in 2013.

After an appeal the act was reduced to a low-end offence, with the entry point of three weeks cut to two for the usual reasons.

The problem with this decision is that while Tuilagi’s actions may well have been dangerous, they were clearly no more deliberate than David Pocock, who escaped with a citing commissioner warning for his knee to the chest of Scott Baldwin.


Finally we’ll take a quick look at two of the more clearcut examples of inconsistency where the same offence was treated in very different ways.

Firstly Bryan Habana, who equalled Jonah Lomu’s record for tries in World Cups against the USA last week, avoided a yellow or even a red card for a mid-air collision with Blaine Scully midway through the first half. According to the new rules on in-air collisions, Habana should probably have conceded a penalty for a fair challenge with wrong timing. Instead it was deemed a fair challenge with both players in a realistic position to catch the ball, with a scrum to South Africa.

So far, no problem. Except when Argentina played Namibia on Sunday, Tinus du Plessis was sin-binned for a virtually identical incident, the only difference being he got into the air and in a much better position to challenge for the ball than Habana. It’s not even a case of inconsistency among the officials, with Gauzère and George Ayoub the referee and TMO for both games.

The other clear discrepancy between treatment of two very similar incidents occurred for dangerous tackles off the ball. Samoa’s Faifili Levave was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on Shota Horie during a loss to Japan, as he basically shoulder charged the fly-half after he had passed the ball. Owen Farrell did almost exactly the same on Matt Giteau, earning a sin-bin for his troubles. While the initial treatment was identical, Levave was then cited for his offence, with Farrell hearing nothing more about the incident.

While Levave was not banned for his offence, his citing was upheld, implying that he should have been red-carded at the time, given that citings are only for red-card offences. He avoided a ban however due to his previous clean record, as well as extensive mitigating circumstances which included a lack of injury for Horie as well as Levave trying to protect himself from injury, as the ban was reduced from two weeks to nothing.

There have been other incidents, most notably a one-week ban for Michael Hooper for a dangerous clearout on Mike Brown that could have been worth much, as well as Mariano Galarza’s nine-week ban for making contact with the eye area of Brodie Retallick.

What has become most clear though, is that for all the TMO interventions during the tournament, the only red card given out has been to Agustin Ormaechea for two yellows.

That’s 15 (or in fact 16 when you include Levave) players who should have been sent off and were not.

Alain Rolland came in for huge criticism four years ago for being the first referee to follow World Rugby’s instructions on tip tackles. Will another referee be willing to stick his head over the parapet in a big game this time around?

By Paul Eddison for Planet Rugby

 

 

Double standards from World Rugby on citings ?

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Questions need to be asked what is going on in the World Cup where players are deliberately committing dangerous play and World Rugby is doing absolutely nothing about these kind of incidents.

Over the weekend we saw social media stirring up a storm over two incidents which seemed to gone unnoticed by match officials and the citing commissioner. The first incident happened in the important match between Pool A, two top teams Wales and Australia where a video surface how Wallaby David Pocock went with his knees into the chest of Wales Baldwin.

The 36 hour window passed now and are closed for any citing against Pocock. Pocock will be free to take to the field in there Quarter Final against Scotland this weekend.

The other incident happened in the France vs Ireland match with a blatant punch from Seán O’Brien . This indecent was also not seen by any of the match officials and on Monday afternoon no news came on any suggestion that he will be cited for his punch.

Questions need to be asked why these incidents  are overlooked but then Samoa’s Tuilagi got five weeks for striking a player with the knee and Namibia’s Renaldo Bothma two weeks for a dangerous tackle.

Are World Rugby saying Tier one countries are allowed to commit foul play but Tier two countries will get punished?

It is a really sad state that double standards still applies when citing are done by World Rugby in this World Cup

Galarza suspended for nine weeks

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Argentina lock Mariano Galarza will play no further part in the World Cup after being suspended for nine weeks.

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The Pumas second row was found guilty of making contact with the eye or eye area of Brodie Retallick during Sunday’s loss to the All Blacks at Wembley.

Following a review of all camera angles, Galarza was cited by Independent Citing Commissioner Murray Whyte (Ireland) under Law 10.4(m).

Galarza denied the act of foul play. Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including from Retallick, the player and submissions from his representatives, the Judicial Officer Christopher Quinlan QC (England) upheld the citing on the basis that the player had committed the act of foul play.

In its Memorandum on “Contact with the Eyes or Eye Area” dated 10 July, 2009 the then-IRB stated, “judicial personnel should note the IRB’s concerns with regard to the increasing number of incidents of this insidious form of foul play and in all proven cases where appropriate impose a condign sanction which clearly denunciates the player’s conduct.”

With respect to the sanction, the Judicial Officer deemed the act of foul play merited a low-end entry point of 12 weeks. Due to the need to deter such acts of foul play, he added an additional period of one week. However, taking into account mitigating factors including his excellent disciplinary record, the Judicial Officer reduced the suspension to a period of nine weeks.

The suspension takes effect immediately. It includes the player’s remaining matches at Rugby World Cup 2015 and thereafter converts to weeks with his club Gloucester Rugby. The sanction will run up to and include 25 November, 2015. He is free to resume playing on 26 November, 2015.

The player has 48 hours in which to appeal from the time he receives the written decision. The full judgment will be available within the next 24 hours.

Sykes and Greeff cleared by SARU

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ORC Griquas No8 Carel Greeff and Eastern Province Kings lock and captain, Steven Sykes, can be considered for Absa Currie Cup action this weekend following the outcomes of their SARU Judicial Hearings on Wednesday.

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The hearings took place via teleconference and advocate Robert Stelzner acted as the Judicial Officer in both instances.

Greeff was cited for a dangerous tackle in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division match against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs last Friday in Kimberley. The citing was not upheld and Greeff can therefore play this weekend.

Sykes received two yellow cards in their clash against the Steval Pumas last Friday in Port Elizabeth. He was yellow carded in the 35th minute for charging into a ruck and tackling a Pumas player dangerously above the shoulders and also issued with an off-field yellow card for alleged foul play.

Advocate Stelzner ruled that the two yellow cards were sufficient and that no further sanction should be imposed on the player.

Issued by SARU Corporate Affairs

Greeff and Sykes to face SARU disciplinary hearings

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ORC Griquas number eight Carel Greeff will appear before a SARU disciplinary committee on Wednesday after being cited for a dangerous tackle in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division match against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs last Friday in Kimberley.

Greeff was cited for allegedly contravening law 10.4 (f) and law 10.4 (j) by tackling the Free State Cheetahs centre Rayno Benjamin in the 73rd without the ball and lifting the player from the ground and dropping or driving him into the ground whilst the player’s feet were off the ground.

Advocate Robert Stelzner has been appointed as Judicial Officer. The hearing will take place on Wednesday, 25 August 2015 at 14h00 via teleconference.

Eastern Province Kings lock and captain Steven Sykes will also face a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday.

Sykes received two yellow cards in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division clash against the Steval Pumas last Friday evening in Port Elizabeth. He was yellow carded in the 35th minute of the first half for charging into a ruck and tackling a Pumas player dangerously above the shoulders (law 10.4 – h). He was also issued with an off-field yellow card for contravening law 10.4 (a), by allegedly pushing his elbow into the face of an opponent.

Advocate Stelzner has been appointed as Judicial Officer and this hearing will take place on Wednesday at 15h30 via teleconference.

 

Issued by SARU Corporate Affairs

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SANZAR inconsistent yet again

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Inconsistency in SANZAR Judicial Systems …..what else do we expect?

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Stormers Du Preez gets 6 weeks for Tip Tackle

The SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Nigel Hampton QC has accepted a guilty plea from Robert du Preez of the Stormers for contravening Law 10.4 (j) Lifting Tackle, after he was cited following a Super Rugby match at the weekend.

Du Preez has been suspended from all forms of the game for six weeks up to and including Sunday 2 August 2015.

The incident occurred in the 76th minute of the Super Rugby match between the Sharks and Stormers at Growthpoint KINGS PARK in Durban on 13 June 2015.

SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Nigel Hampton QC assessed the case.

In his finding, Mr Hampton ruled the following:

“After initially reviewing the video footage, Citing Commissioner’s report and the sin bin report from the referee, I heard from the player, Robert du Preez to obtain his account of the incident. The player accepted that he was guilty of the cited offence and I then identified the various factors involved in the incident.

“I considered the incident had an entry point in the mid-range which starts at an eight-week suspension for lifting tackles. I then added two weeks as a deterrent to send a further message that this type of tackle cannot be tolerated in the game due to the risk it poses to players. There have been a number of decisions relating to lifting tackles this year with a deterrent increase of this size being added. A further increase in this level of deterrence may be required in the future as the additional two-week increase to sanction does not seem to be having the required effect of getting rid of these tackles.

“Mitigating factors included the player admitting guilt for the offence and demonstrating remorse for his actions at all times through the process. The player has a good disciplinary record and his youth along with inexperience were taken into account. These, among other factors, entitles the player to a 50 per cent reduction from the entry point, which results in a reduction of four-weeks and meaning a six-week sanction is to be imposed which was accepted by the player.

“I then considered the players’ upcoming schedule. The Stormers are playing in a Super Rugby Qualifier this weekend with their potential to play in the following two weeks determined by their results. If the Stormers were to be knocked out at any stage of the competition, the player would then be expected to resume playing for his club, Stellenbosch University, and preparing with the Western Province team for the upcoming pre-Currie Cup matches. I am satisfied on the materials presented to me that the missing of these games will have meaningful playing consequences for the player.

“The player’s schedule contains one bye weekend and as a result the actual suspension will run until after the player’s scheduled match on 1 August 2015.

“The player is accordingly found to have contravened Law 10.4 (j) and is suspended for six weeks up to and including Sunday 2 August 2015.”

 

 

Sharks Esterhuizen gets 4 weeks for Tip Tackle

The SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Nigel Hampton QC has accepted a guilty plea from Andre Esterhuizen of the Sharks for contravening Law 10.4 (j) Lifting Tackle, after he was cited following a Super Rugby match at the weekend.

Esterhuizen has been suspended from all forms of the game for four weeks up to and including Sunday 19 July 2015.

The incident occurred in the 10th minute of the Super Rugby match between the Sharks and Stormers at Growthpoint KINGS PARK in Durban on 13 June 2015.

SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Nigel Hampton QC assessed the case.

In his finding, Mr Hampton ruled the following:

“I initially reviewed the video footage, the Citing Commissioner’s report and the reports from the referee and TMO. I established that the player, Andre Esterhuizen, accepted he was guilty of the cited offence and I then identified the various factors involved in the incident.

“I considered the incident had an entry point in the low end range which starts at a four-week suspension for lifting tackles. It appeared from the video that the actions of the Sharks’ halfback had some effect on the Stormers’ player as he came to ground on his upper body. However, Esterhuizen was clearly the major contributor to this dangerous tackle, which he accepted.

“I then added two weeks as a deterrent to send a further message that this type of tackle cannot be tolerated in the game due to the risk it poses to players. There have been a number of decisions relating to lifting tackles this year with a deterrent increase of this size being added. An increase to this level of deterrent may be required in the future as the additional two-week increase to sanction does not seem to be having the required effect of getting rid of these tackles.

“Mitigating factors included the player admitting his guilt for the offence, being contrite for his actions and apologising to the tackled player. His good disciplinary record and youth were also taken into account. These mitigating factors entitled the player to a 50 per cent reduction of the four week entry point, so a reduction of two weeks, which resulted in a four-week sanction.

“The Sharks’ Super Rugby season is finished for 2015 and as such, the player’s commitments are now to his club, Varsity College Old Boys. I was provided with written confirmation that the club’s next three matches, in which the player would have played, take place over the next four weeks, plus a compulsory pre-Currie Cup match that the player would have been expected to play in for the Sharks.

Sonny Bill Williams gets off with a warning

“The player is accordingly found to have contravened Law 10.4 (j) and is suspended up to and including Sunday 19 July 2015.”

Sonny Bill Williams of the Chiefs has been issued with a Citing Commissioner Warning for contravening Law 10.4 (e) Dangerous tackling, during a Super Rugby match at the weekend. The incident occurred in the 40th minute of the match between the Chiefs and Hurricanes played at Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth on 13 June 2015.  A Citing Commissioner Warning may be issued by the SANZAR Citing Commissioner for foul play incidents that are very close to, but in his opinion do not meet the red card threshold for citings. Upon further review of the match footage the Citing Commissioner deemed a Citing Commissioner Warning was appropriate.

Latu and Skelton appeals rejected

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Waratahs forwards Tolu Latu and Will Skelton have both had their appeals against suspensions rejected by SANZAR.

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Both players will now serve their respective four-week and two-week bans as previously determined.

A SANZAR Appeals Committee, chaired by Lex Mpati (South Africa) and comprising Adam Casselden (Australia) and Chris Morris (New Zealand) unanimously dismissed an appeal brought by the Waratahs against the sanction imposed from a judicial hearing that found Latu had contravened Law 10.4 (j) – Lifting Tackle.

The committee dismissed the appeal on the basis that Latu was unable to persuade its opinion that the sanction was manifestly excessive. Latu’s ground of appeal was that the four-week sanction imposed was not fair in all the circumstances.

The committee was not persuaded by the submissions of counsel for Latu, Bruce Hodgkinson SC, who referred to other decisions for purposes of comparison. Counsel argued that the addition of two weeks to the low-end entry point of four weeks, applied by the Judicial Officer as a deterrent, was not consistent with the approach adopted in some of those decisions.

The committee determined that the initial four-week sanction was appropriate. As such, the player remains suspended from all forms of the game for four weeks up to and including Saturday 20 June 2015.

The same committee dismissed the appeal from Skelton on the basis that the appellant was unable to prove that the Judicial Officer’s initial finding was in error, or that the sanction imposed was manifestly excessive.

As to the appeal against the finding of a contravention of Law 10.4 (j), the Committee was not moved by the submissions made on behalf of Skelton by counsel, Bruce Hodgkinson SC, that but for the participation of another player, Silatolu Latu, the tackled player would not have been taken through the horizontal such that his upper body came into contact with the ground first.

As to the sanction imposed, it was argued, amongst others, that the Judicial Officer erred in holding that Skelton was reckless in the execution of the tackle. The Committee found no fault with the Judicial Officer’s finding and determined that the initial two-week sanction was appropriate. As such, the player remains suspended from all forms of the game for two weeks up to and including Saturday 6 June 2015.

Skelton and Latu gets off lightly

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If one look at what happened earlier in the season with the likes of Frans Steyn then you realize that to understand SANZAR disciplinary procedures and action taken against players is the same as to get your mind around evolution.

By: Jacques Nortier

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Will Skelton and Silatolu Latu have both been cited for a dangerous tip tackle in the match between the Waratahs and the Crusaders, and as a result have been suspended for two and four weeks respectively.
In his finding, Stelzner ruled the following: Skelton

“As the Judicial Officer, I considered all the evidence before me including the video footage, additional video provided by the Waratahs, Citing Commissioner’s report, medical information for the Crusaders’ player, Sam Whitelock, who was involved in the incident and the submissions made for the player by his legal representatives, Anthony Black SC and Bruce Hodgkinson.

“After taking all relevant facts into consideration, I found the incident to have a lower end entry point for breaching of 10.4 (j) Lifting Tackle which stipulates a four-week suspension.

“Mitigating factors included the fact that the player admitted his contravention of the law, his youthfulness and clean disciplinary record and the character references supplied on his behalf.

“This resulted in the aforesaid period of four weeks being reduced by two weeks. A deterrent of two weeks was however added for this type of offending as it is an action that has sought to be eliminated from the game.

In his finding, Stelzner ruled the following: Skelton

“Latu played a more dominant role in the tackle when compared to the actions of his teammate, Will Skelton, who received a suspension of two weeks.

“The player’s playing schedule is such that there is a significant chance of the Waratahs being involved in the Super Rugby Qualifier and/or Semi-Finals. A four-week suspension will in all probability result in his missing the next four matches of the competition. This is a meaningful sanction.

“The player is accordingly found to have contravened Law 10.4 (j) and is suspended up to and including Saturday 20 June 2015.”

“After taking all relevant facts into consideration, I found the incident to have a lower end entry point for breaching of 10.4 (j) Lifting Tackle which stipulates a four-week suspension.

“Mitigating factors which were taken into account included the player’s clean record, his relative youthfulness and the good character references supplied on his behalf. This resulted in the sanction being reduced by two weeks.

“Two offending players, Skelton and Silatolu Latu, were involved in the incident. Latu played a more active role in the lifting and twisting of their opponent, Sam Whitelock, contributing more significantly to the end result than Skelton. Skelton nevertheless also lifted and twisted Whitelock in the tackle, which is why he too was found to have breached the applicable Law.

“Given the lesser extent of his involvement however, the sanction in the case of Skelton did not in my view warrant an increase from the entry level sanction to serve as a deterrent. He was unaware of the actions of his fellow player, Silatolu Latu, and although he dropped his opponent after he had lifted and turned him, it appeared that Latu was the player who had continued with the tip tackle causing their opponent to land in the manner in which he ultimately did.

“The player was found to have contravened Law 10.4 (j) and is suspended up to and including Saturday 6 June 2015.”

A few questions pop in my head with these hearings:

1. Firstly will the TMO be punish as well as he was the one that recommended only Latu was at fault and let the referee to believe that Skelton had nothing to do with it?

2. Secondly what about the punch from Latu after the tackle?

3. Thirdly does SANZAR allow now that players can go in the backs of players as Skelton did?

4. Fourthly are SANZAR now also allowing players to dive into a player on the ground which Skelton did? We need to understand that this is exactly why Springbok Bakkies Botha was suspended a few years ago.

To say that supporters have no confidence in SANZAR at all is an understatement as it seems that different rules are applying to different players and the time that people calls this sour grapes is long gone as it happens all over in rugby today.

The seriousness of this was seen when McCaw told the referee on the field if he is not going to sort out the off the ball incidents that they will take matter in there own hands.

The only question remaining now is if SANZAR will intervene like they did with Frans Steyns hearing to show that they can uphold justice in our systems that is suppose to not just protect our players but to make the game fair both ways does not matter which player or team are involved.

 

 

Weekend’s “BadBoys” club

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This week sees a few citing of players that nominated themselves for some force rest in the final stages of the Super Rugby competition.

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The Australian Waratahs have two players sitting in-front of SANZAR to explain there actions on the field after there match against the Crusaders.Both Silatolu Latu and Will Skelton was cited by the Citing Commissioner.

Will Skelton  and Latu has been cited for alleged foul play during a Super Rugby match at the weekend.

Skelton and Latu is alleged to have contravened 10.4 (j) Lifting Tackle, in an incident which occurred in the 17th minute of match between the Waratahs and Crusaders. Both players hearings will be held on Monday 25th May.

Lions Robbie Coetzee has also been cited for Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player’s feet are still off the ground such that the player’s head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play in the 49 min of the match between the Lions and Cheetahs on Satirday.

Coetzee hearing will be held via video conference on Tuesday 26 May.

 

Prior only gets 3 weeks for tip tackle

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The SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Nigel Hampton QC has accepted a guilty plea from Ian Prior of the Force for contravening Law 10.4 (j) Lifting Tackle, after he was sent off following a Super Rugby match at the weekend.

Super Rugby
Super Rugby

Prior has been suspended from all forms of the game for three weeks up to and including Sunday 17 May 2015.

The incident occurred in the 28th minute of the match between the Chiefs and Force at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton on 24 April 2015.

SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Nigel Hampton QC assessed the case.

In his finding, Hampton ruled the following:

“I viewed a number of angles of the incident which clearly showed the actions and reactions of the two players involved in the tackle, Ian Prior, the tackler and Tim Nanai-Williams, the tackled Chiefs’ player, were able to be seen.

“It was submitted that this was a tackle similar to a previous case in 2015 (Liam Gill, March 2015) which I did not accept. The Gill tackle was an unusual and uncommon manoeuvre whereas this tackle fell into the relatively commonplace for lifting tackles.

“The tackled player was fortunately not injured through a combination of good fortune and his own attempts to break his descent. I found the incident to be at the lower end entry level for sanctioning purposes which has an entry point of four weeks.

“Prior had positioned himself for a high impact collision with Nanai-Williams who, momentarily before impact, had lost the ball, slowed himself down and brought himself into a more upright position, which altered the situation. Prior had shut his eyes as he went into the tackle and was unprepared for such an altered situation.

“This meant the tackle effected was completely different to what the player had anticipated in terms of the changed momentum and stance of the tackled player. Realising that he had “lost control of the tackle”, Prior tried to release the tackled player who went to ground at a dangerous angle with some force.

“An aggravating factor to be taken into account is the need for a deterrent for these tackles. Lifting tackles have been sought to be eliminated from the game and yet still remain. I added a week to the suspension as a deterrent. Mitigating factors that I took into account include the player’s good record, his shame at letting his teammates down during the match and his early acceptance of guilt and genuine contrition for his actions. As a result of these factors, I reduced the suspension to three weeks which was accepted by the player.

“The Force have two matches followed by a bye in Round 14. I was told the player, who has had little match time during Super Rugby this year as a result of playing off the bench, was expected to play a club game for his club, Nedlands during the bye to continue developing his match fitness. I sought direct evidence from the Force coach, Michael Foley who provided details of Force players being released in previous bye weekends to play in the Perth Premier Grade Competition when available. I was satisfied that this match was meaningful and should be included in his suspension.

“Therefore, the player is suspended from all forms of rugby up to and including 17 May 2015.”

All SANZAR disciplinary matters are in the first instance referred to a Duty Judicial Officer hearing to provide the option of expediting the judicial process.

For a matter to be dispensed with at this hearing, the person appearing must plead guilty and accept the penalty offered by the DJO.

Appeals committee suspend Steyn until 3 May

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Frans Steyn has been given a suspension from all forms of the game up until 3 May 2015 by the SANZAR Appeals Commitee

Super Rugby
Super Rugby

At a SANZAR judicial hearing on 23 March 2015, SANZAR Judicial Officer, Jannie Lubbe SC, found Francois Steyn not guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (j), which provides; Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player’s feet are still off the ground such that the player’s head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play.

A SANZAR Appeals Committee, chaired by Terry Willis (Australia) and comprising Nigel Hampton QC (New Zealand) and Robert Stelzner SC (South Africa), has allowed an appeal by SANZAR against the verdict of a judicial hearing that cleared Francois Steyn of a lifting tackle.

The Appeals Committee unanimously upheld the appeal brought by SANZAR and found that Steyn breached Law 10.4 (j) and that the referee was correct to red card the player during the match between the Sharks and the Chiefs played at Growthpoint KINGS PARK in Durban on Saturday 21 March 2015.

The Committee determined that the relevant sanction was four matches. After taking into consideration the Sharks’ bye in Round 11, Steyn was suspended from all forms of the game up to and including 3 May 2015.

SANZAR appeal against Steyn’s ruling

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SANZAR has lodged an appeal against the outcome of a judicial hearing held on Monday 23 March that found Francois Steyn of the Sharks not guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (j).

A SANZAR Appeals Committee, chaired by Terry Willis, with Nigel Hampton QC and Robert Stelzner SC as members, will hear the appeal via videoconference on Friday 27 March 2015.

Many people was in disbelieve when Jannie Lubbe found Steyn not guilty and scraped the red card issued to him during the match. One can only wait and see what will happen from the SANZAR hearing…

Then the question needs to be raised why does SANZAR not come into play on other hearings as well, like a choke I saw in the same game which was just blown away as well?

 

 

Wiping red card wrong on all counts

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Exonerating Francois Steyn is a red card stain in Sanzar’s rap sheet reports Wynne Gray New Zealand Herald

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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.

NZ Herald

Liam Messam Citing Upheld

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A SANZAR Judicial Hearing has found Liam Messam of the Chiefs guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (m) Acts contrary to good sportsmanship, after he was cited following a Super Rugby match at the weekend.

No sanction has been imposed on the player.

The incident occurred in the 18th minute of the Super Rugby match between the Sharks and Chiefs at Growthpoint KINGS PARK in Durban on 21 March 2015.

The SANZAR Judicial Hearing was heard by Jannie Lubbe SC via video conference at 6pm NZDT7am SAST, 4pm AEDT on 24 March 2015. Adam Magro was the former professional player who attended as a Judicial Technical Adviser.

In his finding, Lubbe ruled the following:

“I reviewed the video footage, the Citing Commissioner’s report and heard submissions from the player’s counsel, Mr Aaron Lloyd, Chiefs’ head coach, Dave Rennie and the player himself. The original charge of a breach of Law 10.4 (e) Dangerous Tackling was amended to a breach of Law 10.4 (m) Acts contrary to good sportsmanship. Amending a charge during the course of a hearing is a power allowed to Judicial Officers by the SANZAR Judicial Rules.

“Mr Lloyd did not object to the amendment and Mr Messam then pleaded guilty to the amended charge. I found the entry point to be at the lower end and after careful consideration of possible mitigating and aggravating features involved, the player’s exemplary disciplinary record across a lengthy career including 134 Super Rugby matches and 42 Test matches for the All Blacks, I concluded that no further sanction should be imposed as a suspension would be wholly disproportionate to the level of offending involved in this case.

“From the video footage, it is clear that the tackle was initially legal. The right arm then slipped around the neck of Sharks’ No. 7 after they went to ground and holding on to the tackled player around his neck in such a manner puts the player in a vulnerable position.

“On the particular facts of this matter and without setting a precedent for these type of actions, it would be wholly disproportionate to the level and type of offending involved to impose a sanction on the player.

“Therefore, the player is found to be guilty of Law 10.4 (m) and no sanction is imposed on the player.”

Steyn off the hook

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Frans Steyn’s red card has been rescinded after a Sanzar judicial hearing found him not guilty of executing a tip-tackle on Aaron Cruden.

Photo: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images
Photo: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images

Steyn received a red card during the first half of the Shark’s 12-11 victory over the Chiefs at Kings Park for a dangerous tackle on Cruden. However, after further reviewing the evidence, Sanzar duty judicial officer Jannie Lubbe SC accepted that there were extenuating circumstances involved in the tackle, and has decided against further sanction.

‘After careful consideration of video evidence, including additional video evidence and still frames submitted by the legal representative of Francois Steyn, Gerrie Swart, as well as the oral explanation of Steyn, it was concluded that Steyn did not act in breach of Law 10.4 (j),’ said Lubbe.

‘It was also found that two other Sharks players were involved in the tackle and that one of the players, Cobus Reinach, played a significant part in what appeared to be a serious and dangerous tackle.

‘A detailed analysis of the execution of the tackle by Steyn clearly showed that he executed a perfectly legitimate tackle on Cruden, but that the intervention of his teammates applying additional and external forces to the dynamic tackle situation resulted in what the referee deemed to be a breach of Law 10.4 (j).

‘This decision is not meant to be critical of the match officials who had to take and make their decision on the field of play without the benefit I had of additional video material and submissions by legal counsel.

‘The referee and his assistant on the available evidence at their disposal came to the conclusion that Cruden got lifted in the tackle by Steyn and made contact with the ground with his head first.

‘The video material before me clearly shows that Cruden made contact with the ground first with his right hand and upper arm, followed by shoulder and back. The momentum of the tackle then caused him to roll so that his head and neck made contact with the ground.

‘As a result of this finding, the red card will be expunged from the player’s record.’

Steyn will now be available for the Sharks’ next home match against the Force this weekend, and will be in contention to take over the captaincy in the absence of Bismarck du Plessis.

Bismarck accepts wrongdoing

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Bismarck du Plessis appeared in a SANZAR judicial hearing, following him being issued with a red card for foul play in the 18th minute of yesterday’s Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Chiefs at Growthpoint KINGS PARK.

Upon pleading guilty to the charge, SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Adam Casselden, handed du Plessis a four-week suspension.

In acceptance of the punishment handed to him by SANZAR, Bismarck du Plessis said: “I want to unreservedly apologise for my behaviour both as captain and a senior player. My actions were unacceptable and I fully accept the punishment handed down to me by SANZAR.

“I will use these four-weeks off the field to reflect on my actions as both a leader and role-model in the game. I am painfully aware that people have lost faith in my character and the values I claim to stand for. I intend to rectify that through actions going forward and not merely words.”

He added: “By my very competitive nature, whenever I take to the field, I pride myself on playing the game hard and fair. Sadly my recent conduct did not reflect the fairness I refer to. I am passionate about the Cell C Sharks, my teammates and the game but allowed my emotions to get the better of me.

“I acknowledge that I need to have better control of my emotions and I make no excuses for my actions.

“I would like to extend my sincere apologises to Michael Leitch, my opponent who was on the receiving end of my foul play. My intention was never to cause him bodily harm and I am thankful that he was not injured. I would also like to use this opportunity to apologise to my teammates, Cell C Sharks fans and everyone else that I have let down.”

In addition to the punishment handed to Bismarck by SANZAR, The Sharks have also handed the player a heavy punishment, details of which remain an internal matter.

The Cell C Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold stated: “Discipline both on and off the field is a non-negotiable for me and it is a critical factor for success. Whilst I will always back my players in difficult times, it is important that we draw the line when it comes to foul play.

“Bismarck has apologised to our management and players for his actions and he has shown sufficient remorse for his behaviour. I trust that this is a learning experience for him and I am confident that he will emerge a stronger individual as a result.”

Elliot gets 1 week and Bismarck gets 4

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The SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Adam Casselden has accepted a guilty plea from Hikawera Elliot of the Chiefs for contravening Law 10.4 (h) Dangerous Charging, after he was sent off in a Super Rugby match at the weekend.  

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Elliot has been suspended from all forms of the game for one week up to and including 28 March 2015.

The incident occurred in the 16th minute of the match between the Sharks and Chiefs played at Growthpoint KINGS PARK in Durban on 21 March 2015.

SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Adam Casselden assessed the case.

In his finding, Casselden ruled the following:

“Having considered all matters, I was satisfied that a low entry point was appropriate which dictated a suspension of two weeks. The lower entry point was reached with some hesitation given the deliberate and reckless actions of the player in charging into the maul without the use of his arms and making contact with the head of the Sharks’ No. 1 with his right shoulder. His actions clearly placed his opponent at a risk of injury to his head and/or neck, however, I was satisfied on balance, that the player’s offending did not warrant a mid-range assessment of seriousness.

“With respect to mitigating factors, I took account of the following: the player has played four matches for the All Blacks, approximately 100 Super Rugby matches and in excess of 100 ITM Cup matches. The player has an impeccable disciplinary record, never previously receiving a red card or cited for foul play since commencing his professional rugby career in 2004.

“The player accepted that he committed an act of foul play at the first available opportunity. Taking those mitigating factors into account and the overall culpability of his offending, I was satisfied that the two-week suspension should be reduced to one week.

“Accordingly, the player is suspended from all forms of rugby up to and including Saturday 28 March 2015.”


The SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Adam Casselden has accepted a guilty plea from Bismarck du Plessis of the Sharks for contravening Law 10.4 (c) A player must not kick an opponent, after he was sent off following a Super Rugby match at the weekend.  

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Du Plessis has been suspended from all forms of the game for four weeks up to and including 18 April 2015.

The incident occurred in the 18th minute of the match between the Sharks and Chiefs played at Growthpoint KINGS PARK in Durban on 21 March 2015.

SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Adam Casselden assessed the case.

In his finding, Casselden ruled the following:

“The player’s kick was pre-meditated, intentional and unprovoked. It was reckless, that is the player knew (or should have known) there was a risk of committing an act of foul play. In my opinion the offence was a grave one and the possibility of serious injury existed.

“The Chiefs’ No. 8 was in a vulnerable position on the ground. He did not see the kick, even if he had, he had limited means available to him, given the position of his arms and body, to protect himself from the player’s actions.

“Whilst the player claims he was frustrated by Chiefs’ No. 8 not releasing him from the tackle earlier that does not, in my opinion, entitle him to retaliate by kicking his opponent in the area of the head with a studded boot. The head is of course sacrosanct.

“Mr. Swart, the Player’s representative, submitted that the offence was in the lower end of seriousness, particularly given no injury was sustained by Chiefs’ No. 8. I was unable to accede to that submission. Whilst it was fortunate that the player did not sustain an injury, he was nonetheless placed in a vulnerable position and the risk of him sustaining an injury to his head including in and around the eye area was clearly present. Accordingly, I found that the offence should be categorised as a mid-range offence and that the entry point of an eight-week suspension was the relevant starting point.

“I was informed that the player was suspended for three weeks in 2008 for dangerous contact to the head area of an opponent. Apart from that indiscretion, the player has not been found guilty of any foul play. In 2012 he received two yellow cards (a red card offence) in the one Test match against New Zealand which resulted in him being ordered off the playing enclosure. At the subsequent judicial hearing there was a finding by the judicial officer that the referee’s decision to issue one of the yellow cards was wrong. As a result, the red card issued in that Test match was expunged from his record.

“Although the player was suspended seven years ago for dangerous contact to the head of an opponent that does not, in my opinion, categorise the player as a repeat offender of the game to warrant any uplift on the entry point as an aggravating factor.

“Since 2008 it seems he has been a model player and in my opinion, no other aggravating factors existed for consideration other than those which were taken into account in determining the appropriate entry point.

“The player has played professional rugby for approximately 12 years. He has played 77 Test matches for South Africa, 125 Super Rugby matches and in the order of 47 Currie Cup matches. Apart from a three week suspension in 2008 the player’s disciplinary record is unblemished. This is his first red card offence in a lengthy first class playing career.

“I accepted that the player’s remorse and contrition for his offending was genuine and his acceptance that he committed an act of foul play at the earliest opportunity.

“Having regard to the above mitigating factors and the overall culpability of the player’s offending, I was satisfied that the eight week entry point should be reduced to four weeks. Accordingly, I offered the player a four week suspension as a preliminary indication of penalty in accordance with the DJO process, which was accepted.”

“The player is suspended from all forms of rugby up to and including Saturday 18 April 2015.”

All SANZAR disciplinary matters are in the first instance referred to a Duty Judicial Officer hearing to provide the option of expediting the judicial process.

For a matter to be dispensed with at this hearing, the person appearing must plead guilty and accept the penalty offered by the DJO.

Triggs gets one-week ban for punch

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Blues lock Hayden Triggs has been banned for one week for his punch on Stormers captain Duane Vermeulen at Newlands on Saturday.

Blues Media and Training Session, 21 May 2014

The SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Robert Stelzner SC has accepted a guilty plea from Triggs for contravening Law 10.4 (a) Punching or striking, after he was sent off.

Triggs has been suspended from all forms of the game for one week up to and including 28 February.

The incident occurred in the 24th minute of the match.

SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Robert Stelzner SC assessed the case.

In his finding, Stelzner ruled the following:

“As the Duty Judicial Officer, I considered all of the evidence before me including video footage leading up to the incident and issuing of the red card, match official reports for the incident and the submissions of Mr Aaron Lloyd which he made on behalf of the player.

“I found the incident to have a low-range entry point which stipulates a two-week suspension. This was then reduced by one week due to Triggs’ prompt admission of guilt, remorse for his actions and excellent disciplinary record in over 10 years of playing professional rugby.

“The applicable entry point for determining the seriousness of the offence was further informed by the existence of provocation and the fact that the player acted in retaliation.

“The adverse effect of the player’s actions on his own team’s prospects of winning by his being ordered off at a relatively early part of the match, after his team had been awarded a penalty which could potentially have put the Blues in the lead, further played a role in recommending the sanction.

“After taking all these factors into consideration, I found that a suspension of one week was warranted for the incident which was accepted by the player.

“The player is suspended for one week up to and including 28th February 2015.”

Hames banned for five weeks after punching

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Highlanders prop Kane Hames has been banned for five weeks for punching an opponent in Saturday’s clash with the Crusaders in Dunedin.

Kane+Hames+Highlanders+Headshots+Session+2oj8BHQwWJHl

The SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Robert Stelzner SC accepted a guilty plea from Hames for contravening Law 10.4 (a) Punching or striking, after he was cited following the Super Rugby match at the weekend.

Hames has been suspended from all forms of the game up to and including 28 March.

The incident occurred in the 74th minute of the match played at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday.

SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Robert Stelzner SC assessed the case.

In his finding, Stelzner ruled the following:

“As the Duty Judicial Officer, I considered all of the evidence before me including video footage, Citing Commissioner’s report, a photograph and medical report of the injury sustained by Mr Dominic Bird and the submissions of Mr Aaron Lloyd made on behalf of the player.

“After taking all relevant facts of the incident into consideration, I found the incident to have a mid-range entry point which stipulates a five week suspension.

“Several aggravating factors for the case included the injury to Mr Bird and a deterrent for this type of conduct occurring in the game, resulting in a two week increase to the sanction. This was then reduced by two weeks due to Hames’ remorse and prompt guilty plea for the incident.

“After taking all these factors into consideration, I found that a suspension of five weeks was warranted which was accepted by the player.

“The player is suspended for five weeks up to and including 28th March 2015.”

JP du Preez suspended for four weeks

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Golden Lions Under-21 lock JP du Preez was suspended for four weeks on Thursday for a dangerous tackle in their Absa Under-21 Championship clash against the Sharks at Ellis Park last Friday.

Du Preez dived over a ruck into Sharks scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer while the player was trying to grasp the ball and made contact with his neck area. As a result of the incident Ungerer was forced to leave the field in the 39th minute.

Du Preez received a yellow card for the incident and was later cited. He appeared before a SARU disciplinary committee in Johannesburg on Tuesday, with Advocate Louis Booyse serving as the judicial officer.

Booyse initially reserved his judgement, but he described the tackle as a mid-range offence in his judicial report on Thursday and suspended Du Preez for four weeks.

Du Preez will be eligible for selection on October 4.

The Golden Lions Rugby Union on Thursday indicated that they would appeal against the suspension.

Ben gets five weeks ban for pushing referee

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A strong message of do not touch officials has been send out in New Zeeland with the ban of five weeks for Waikato prop Ben Tameifuna.

Tameifuna pushed referee Glen Jackson in the game while defending his try line last week.

He was cited for ‘acting against the spirit of good sportsmanship’ after pushing Jacksonout of te way. Tameifuna apologised to Jackson immediately after the game and accept that what he did was wrong but stated that he was focus on defending the try line and acted instinctively and not with intend.

Taking the mitigating circumstances into account, the judicial officer Chris Morris decided to suspend Tameifuna from all rugby until October 5.

“It is imperative that players instinctively know that it is never, under any circumstances, appropriate for a player to abuse, verbally or physically, a match official,” Morris said in a statement.

“Taking all those factors into account, I find that a suspension of five weeks is appropriate and proportionate to the offending.”

Newcastle Falcons prop Kieran Brookes was banned for six weeks for pushing referee Greg Garner during an English Premiership match against Leicester in March

Orie suspended for 1 week for tackle on JD

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Vodacom Blue Bulls Under-21 lock Marvin Orie on Wednesday received a one-week suspension for a dangerous tackle in the team’s Absa Under-21 Competition match against DHL Western Province.

Orie was cited on Sunday for tackling DHL Western Province lock JD Schickerling around the neck in the third minute of the clash and pulling him backwards until both players fell to the ground.

Schickerling suffered a fractured cervical spine at the C5/C6 level during the match. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Orie appeared before a SARU judicial committee on Tuesday in Pretoria.

In his findings judicial officer Advocate Tokkie van Zyl said it was highly improbable that Orie’s actions could have caused a serious neck injury.

He described the tackle as follows: “In evaluating the evidence as seen in the video material, it is clear that the player initially tackled the opponent by grabbing him around his arms from behind, thereafter releasing his grip and again grabbed (tackled) the opponent around the neck with his left arm.”

In his judgement Van Zyl said: “No medical or factual evidence was placed before me with regards to exactly when and how the opponent sustained the neck injury. I am, however, based on the evidence before me, of the view that it is highly improbable that the conduct of the player could have caused a serious neck injury to the opponent, although I cannot exclude such a possibility. For purposes of considering an appropriate sanction and due to a lack of any evidence to that effect, I cannot find that the injury to the opponent was caused by the conduct of the player and will accordingly not take the injury into account as an aggravating factor.”

He added: “I am further of the opinion that in the event of the conduct of the player having been penalised during the game, it would most probably have resulted in a penalty or a yellow card, but was not in my opinion a red card offence.”

Based on the evidence provided and having taken all mitigating factors into account, Van Zyl ruled that the incident was a lower-entry offence and suspended Orie for one week.

Griquas Francke founded not guilty

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GWK Griquas outside centre Jonathan Francke was found not guilty at a SARU disciplinary hearing of executing a dangerous tackle in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division match between the GWK Griquas and Cell C Sharks in Kimberley on Saturday.

 

Jonathan Francke Red Card
Jonathan Francke Red Card

Francke was cited under law 10 .4 (j) for lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player’s feet are still off the ground such that the player’s head and /or upper body come into contact with the ground. The incident, involving Sharks player SP Marais, took place in the seventh minute of the first half. Following the incident Francke was shown a red card by referee Craig Joubert.

 

The disciplinary hearing was held on Tuesday afternoon in Bloemfontein. Francke, through his legal representative, Mr Stephan Weyers, pleaded not guilty.

 

Francke testified and conceded that he was responsible for lifting Marais’s legs through the horizontal and that it was his intention to bring the player safely down. He said, however, he had lost control in executing the tackle as a result of the involvement of a second Griquas player. This explanation was upheld by the Judicial Officer, advocate Pieter Fischer, after extensive viewing of the footage of the incident from various angles.

 

Adv. Fischer added: “Of importance in this regard is that Mr Craig Joubert, the vastly experienced referee, having confirmed this telephonically, was unsighted as to the involvement of (the other player) Scheepers.  This is understandable in the circumstances especially when the video footage is considered from the angle/line of sight that the referee had.”

 

Advocate Fischer determined that he was not satisfied that Francke had executed a dangerous tackle in breach of law 10.4(j) warranting a red card and ordering off.  Therefore, the red card and ordering off were not upheld.

Five-week ban for Lee

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bbc.co.uk

Wales prop Samson Lee was slapped with a five-week ban for his ugly headbutt on South African lock Flip van der Merwe in the second Test in Nelspruit last week.

The 21-year-old prop, who made his first start in an international, will miss the first three weeks of Scarlets’ Pro12 season and friendlies against Bath and Gloucester.

He was cited by James Absaloms (Kenya) for the incident, which saw his opponent receive treatment for a blood injury, but was not punished on the field – despite Springbok captain Victor Matfield pleading with referee Steve Walsh to refer the matter to the TMO.

IRB disciplinary officer Christopher Quinlan imposed a 10-week suspension, but the ban was halved because of Lee’s admission of “reckless conduct”, his youth and his remorse at the hearing.

Wales lost the two-Test series 0-2, losing 16-38 in the first Test in Durban before an agonising 30-31 defeat last Saturday.

Quinlan said that he had received a statement from the victim.

“The player and his team accepted that the player’s foul play caused an injury, in respect of which he [Van der Merwe] left the field of play and received treatment.

“During a maul where both players were on the ground, No.3 [Lee] held the SA No.4 [Van der Merwe] and headbutted him on the side of the face. The victim player was later forced to leave the field of play for medical attention. The incident is caught on video.”

The incident took place in the 44th minute of the match.

“The Player said he did not intend to hurt or injure Van der Merwe,” Quinlan said, adding: “He just wanted to get free of him.

“I enquired about his disciplinary record. Disarmingly, he said he could not remember how many times he had been sent off.”

“The Player’s season is now over. Given my findings, the suspension will begin to have a meaningful effect on August 16, the date of the Bath fixture.

“The next match which has a meaningful playing consequence for the player [Lee] is against Gloucester. Thereafter the Pro12 League starts on weekend of [Friday] September 5. Although (to my knowledge) the fixture list has not been published I accept league matches will follow on consecutive weekends thereafter.”

Horwill to face SANZAR

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Reds captain James Horwill will face a SANZAR hearing after he criticised match referee Steve Walsh after their 27-30 loss to the Rebels on Saturday.

Referee Walsh red carded Ed O’Donoghue on advice from TMO Steve Leszczynski and awarded a match winning penalty to the Rebels in the final minute of the match. O’Donoghue’s red card was later removed from his record by SANZAR.

SANZAR have now completed an investigation into comments made by James Horwill in his on-field post-match interview following match played at Suncorp Stadium on 17 May 2014.

The comment in question attributed to Mr Horwill is: “In the end, once again we were robbed by a stupid refereeing decision.”

SANZAR has referred the matter for a hearing in accordance with SANZAR’s Disciplinary Rules.

In bringing this complaint, SANZAR will allege that the comment made by Mr Horwill amount to Misconduct under Rule 10 of the SANZAR Disciplinary Rules and breaches the SANZAR Code of Conduct Section 8.3 (3) of the Super Rugby Tournament Manual, which reads as follows:

Section 8.3 (e) “All persons shall not publish or cause to be published criticism of the manner in which a Match Official handled a match.”

The matter will be heard by SANZAR Judicial Officer Nigel Hampton QC via teleconference on Tuesday 27 May 2014: 5:30pm (AEST), 7:30pm (NZST), 9:30am (SAST).

Source: www.superxv.com

Deysel gets three weeks

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Sharks flanker Jean Deysel has been suspended for three weeks for stamping on Jordan Taufua in the Sharks 25-30 Super Rugby victory over the Crusaders.

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Deysel has been suspended from all forms of rugbyup to and including Saturday 7 June 2014 which means that he can play in the Sharks last two regular season matches and the play offs should the Sharks qualify.

A SANZAR Judicial Hearing accepted a guilty plea from Deysel for contravening Law 10.4 (b) Stamping or trampling after he was issued a red card during a Super Rugby match at the weekend.

The incident occurred during the match between the Crusaders and Sharks at AMI Stadium, Addington in Christchurch on Saturday 17 May 2014. The referee for the match, Rohan Hoffman, issued a red card for the incident which occurred in the 16th minute.

The SANZAR Judicial Hearing held via video conference on Tuesday May 20 2014 at 9pm NZST, 7pm AEST, 11am SAST was heard by Jannie Lubbe SC who was assisted by former professional player, John Langford.

In his finding, Advocate Lubbe ruled the following, “Jean Deysel of the Sharks tackled Jordan Taufua of the Crusaders near the Sharks’ goal line after Taufua illegally held on to the foot of Deysel, preventing him from joining the line of defense.

“In order to free himself, Deysel stamped with his boot on Taufua and made contact with the neck/head area of the player. Taufua sustained a minor injury to his mouth but was able to complete the match and subsequently provided helpful testimony that supported the medical evidence.

“The entry level of the offence was categorised as mid-level which carries a five week suspension after applying section 9.5 of Appendix 1 of the SANZAR Disciplinary Rules; mainly because of the use of a boot in the head/face area of a player in a vulnerable position on the ground.

“Stamping is a serious offence. It is an offence that cannot be tolerated in the game because not only is it totally against the spirit of the game, but it carries an inherent potential danger of serious injury to players, especially when contact is made in the head/face area.

“The period of suspension was reduced to three weeks as a result of compelling mitigating factors which consisted of the following:

The player apologised to his opponent after the match who accepted the apology. Deysel is a senior player with an exceptionally good record over a long career who acts as a leader and performs a mentoring role in the team. He pleaded guilty and showed genuine remorse for his actions.

Having considered the player’s upcoming schedule of matches as required by IRB Regulation 17, I am satisfied that the player was scheduled to play in the KZN Club Rugby competition during the June break for Super Rugby. This means Deysel will miss the Sharks’ two upcoming fixtures, along with a match for his club side on 6 June.

Accordingly, the player is suspended from all forms of rugby up to and including Saturday 7 June 2014.

Source: www.superxv.com

Lachlan’s Appeal Dismissed

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A.R.U Media Release:

Monday, 8th July, 2013
REBELS WINGER LACHLAN MITCHELL APPEAL DISMISSED:

Independent IRB Judicial Officer Lex Mpati has dismissed the RaboDirect Melbourne Rebels appeal of winger, Lachlan Mitchell’s, one match ban.

Judicial Officer, Nigel Hampton QC, found Mitchell guilty of lifting British & Irish Lions winger Simon Zebo in the seventh match of the DHL Australia 2013 Lions Tour and suspended him for one match.

Mitchell was cited under Law 10.4 (j) Lifting a player from the ground and dropping that player into the ground whilst that player’s feet are still off the ground, such that the player’s upper body comes into contact with the ground.

The Appeal was heard by Justice Lex Mpati from South Africa via video conference on Wednesday, 3 July.

Having reserved his decision of the incident Mr Mpati said he was not persuaded that the Judicial Officer was wrong in his finding.

“Having heard all of the evidence and reviewed the video I conclude Mr Mitchell lifted the British & Irish Lions player Simon Zebo,” Mr Mpati said.

“I also concluded that there was a dropping of Mr Zebo in that, unsupported, his upper body fell to the ground whilst both the legs were still being held up and off the ground and that the player’s body came into contact with the ground.”

While dismissing the Rebels appeal Mr Mpati also declined to interfere with the one match ban imposed by the Judicial Officer.

Mitchell’s one match suspension remains in place and will be fulfilled following the Rebels next Super Rugby fixture on Friday 12 July.

Four week ban for Butch

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The Sanzar judicial officer Jannie Lubbe has accepted a guilty plea from Butch James of the Sharks for a dangerous tackle on Bulls’ Jurgen Visser, after he was cited during Saturday’s Super Rugby against the two teams.

Two Samoans in trouble

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Two Samoans, one for impersonating a WWE wrestler and the other for sexual harassment, will appear before a disciplinary committee.

Samoa fullback, James So’oialo, was cited for an incident involving South African hooker, Adriaan Strauss, in the Castle Lager Incoming Series final at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, on Saturday.

So’oialo was cited under Law 10.4(m), committing an act contrary to good sportsmanship. He is alleged to have grabbed the testicles of Strauss.

The incident, which occurred in the 12th minute of the second half was referred to Judicial Officer, Jeff Blackett, by citing commissioner, Peter Larter, both of the Rugby Football Union.

So’oialo will appear at a judicial hearing at the Southern Sun Montecasino Hotel, Johannesburg, at 09h00 on Sunday, 23 June.

Meanwhile Samoan wing, Alesana Tuilagi, will appear before a disciplinary hearing following his sending off in the same match for a dangerous tackle on Springbok centre, Jean de Villiers. That hearing is scheduled to take place at 10h00 at the same venue.

South Africa won the match 56-23.

SANZAR charges Henry with misconduct

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Hot off the heels from the Stormers who were recently fined for a misconduct charge, RWC winning coach Graham Henry has now been officially charged for speaking out against referees.

Stormers fined over R200K

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The Stormers have been fined over R 200 000.00 for bringing the game into disrepute.

Frans not guilty

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Frans Steyn has been found not guilty following a citing over the weekend.

Steyn was cited by the match commissioner for charging into a ruck in the 78th minute where he made contact with Chiefs player, Nanai-Williams.

Following a review of the evidence, Jannie Lubbe, who conducted the hearing Steyn did not breach Law 10.4 (h) with reference to foul play.

Steyn will therefore be available for selection this weekend when the Sharks tackle the Highlanders.

Dirtbin bans liquor near stadium

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According to The Mercury website, Durban authorities have warned that rugby fans caught drinking in the outlying areas of Kings Park Stadium will face arrest, as police step up efforts to enforce existing liquor legislation banning the consumption of alcohol in public spaces.

Bakkies back to form

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World Cup-winning Springbok lock Bakkies Botha was a fiery presence as Toulon marched into the Heineken Cup semi-finals at the weekend … perhaps a tad too fiery.

Kitshoff suspended for a week

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A SANZAR Judicial Hearing has found Steven Kitshoff of the Stormers guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (e) Dangerous Tackling after he was cited during a Super Rugby match at the weekend.

SARU & Kings media releases on issue of foreign players

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SA Rugby have released a statement with regards to Kings selections of foreign players.

Hore apologises for his actions

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New Zealand hooker Andrew Hore apologised on Thursday for a hit from behind on Wales lock Bradley Davies that resulted in a five-match ban, saying he had let down his team and the entire country.

Mitchell not guilty, wants his job back

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Suspended Golden Lions Rugby Union coach John Mitchell is committed to continuing in the role, buoyed by news that he has already been found not guilty of various charges of misconduct levelled against him by the GLRU, with a further six charges having been withdrawn by the Johannesburg-based club.

Cooper cops a huge fine and suspended ban

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Quade Cooper has today been found to be in breach of the ARU Code of Conduct in respect of his social media and media comments between Saturday 22 and Thursday 27 September.

Morne gets 1 week ban

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Vodacom Blue Bulls player Mornè Steyn has been suspended for one week of rugby after being found guilty by a SARU Judicial Officer on Tuesday.

Higginbotham gets 2-match ban

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Qantas Wallabies forward, Scott Higginbotham, has this evening accepted a two week suspension on both counts after pleading guilty to two counts of striking All Blacks captain, Richie McCaw, with the knee and the head.