Ranger suspended for 2 weeks

    2012-03-12 09:01
    Brenden Nel - SuperSport

    Johannesburg - Blues wing Rene Ranger has been suspended for two weeks after his helter-skelter tackle on Vodacom Bulls wing Bjorn Basson on Saturday.

    VIDEO: Rene Ranger's tackle on Bjorn Basson

    Ranger dived into Basson in an attempt to stop him from scoring a try in the 79th minute of the Vodacom Super Rugby match between the two sides and injured Basson in the process. He received a yellow card automatically from referee Steve Walsh, with an accompanying white card for the officials to review the incident.

    It was not the first time Ranger has been cited for a dangerous tackle, earning himself a one-week suspension in 2009 for a similar incident against the Bulls.

    After review, it was decided that the incident had warranted a red card, and Ranger accepted a guity plea for the dangerous tackle, leading to a sentence reduction.

    “The Sanzar Duty Judicial Officer Mike Heron has accepted a guilty plea from Rene Ranger of the Blues for contravening Law 10.4 (e) Dangerous Tackling. A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously, after he was cited during a Super Rugby match after he made late and dangerous contact with Bulls player Bjorn Basson in the 79th minute of the match between the Bulls and Blues at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday 10 March,” Sanzar’s findings read.

    “Rene Ranger has been suspended from all forms of the game for two weeks up to and including the 25th of March.”

    Judicial officer Mike Heron gave his reasons for the sentence, which will see Ranger miss the Blues next two games.

    “I reviewed the footage on the intranet and the live feed. I discussed the same with the player and coach (and later discussed the case with his counsel Mr Weyers). It shows Rene Ranger diving towards the other player, who was also diving to score the try, and ultimately hitting the player with his shoulder on the back of the player,” Heron wrote.

    “At that point, the tackle did not involve his arms and was late. A careful review of at least one angle shows that Ranger initially was attempting to use his arms and appeared to launch towards the other player while that other player was in the air. In my view, Ranger was initially attempting to tackle the Bulls number 11 but had to pull out as the Bulls player was too close to the ground. The result was that Ranger's arms were not used in the tackle.

    “In my view the tackle was reckless, and late (but this was a dynamic and very fast moving situation). I accept Ranger's account that he was attempting a legitimate tackle and had no intention of injuring the Bulls player. The referee and AR's report reflect a similar impression as the citing commissioner, although concentrate on the lack of attempt to use the arms and the use of the shoulder.

    “I note that the player was issued a yellow card and a white card was also issued. I have an informal medical report to the effect that the Bulls player has injured ligaments in his left shoulder and has bruised ribs on the left side (I am unable to determine whether these resulted from the tackle although that is a fair inference).

    “The Bulls player walked off the pitch with the other players and I am told that the players met after the game and the relationship between the teams was amicable. I find that the tackle was late and dangerous (as cited). I am satisfied that the player did not intend to carry out such a tackle and the footage confirms his original intention.

    “I find, however, that he was reckless as to the safety of the tackle. In all the circumstances, I find that the tackle was lower end in terms of the entry point for Law 10.4(e). That gives an entry point of two weeks.

    “The player has one previous disciplinary matter of a similar nature. By coincidence it occurred at the same ground against the same team in 2009. He received a one week sanction. He does not, therefore, have the benefit of a completely clean record.

    “The effect on the Bulls player and the need for general deterrence provide some aggravation, albeit modest in the circumstances. The player was contrite and sensibly accepted that the tackle was dangerous. He and the coach put forward an explanation, which was supported by the footage.

    “Rene Ranger is a respected member of the Blues and is held in high regard both on and off the field. He deserves full credit for his attitude and for his early plea of guilty.

    “In summary, I find that the aggravating factors (described) are counterbalanced by the mitigating factors and they are approximately equivalent. I am left with the entry point of two weeks and that is the sanction I impose. Accordingly, Rene Ranger is suspended from all forms of the game for two weeks, to and including Sunday 25 March 2012 (covering the two scheduled matches on 17 and 23 March).”

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