Vodacom Super Rugby
Sonny Bill escapes punishment
Brenden Nel - SuperSport
Sonny Bill Williams (File)
London - SANZAR’s attempts to establish a consistent, fair and open citing system took a massive step backwards when All Black midfielder Sonny Bill Williams escaped punishment for a dangerous and high tackle on Sharks No8 Ryan Kankowski during Sunday’s match between the Sharks and Crusaders.Video: SBW's illegal tackle on Ryan Kankowski
With Bakkies Botha being cited without success a week earlier for a cleanout at the ruck that was neither as dangerous, or intentional as Williams’ hit, it once again raised the spectre of there being two sets of rules in Super Rugby - one for South Africans and one for the rest.
Williams went in on Kankowski, with deliberate intent with a shoulder and elbow which connected heavily with the No8, making even the SkySport commentators wince and speak about the illegality of the challenge.
But the referee on the day, Steve Walsh, nor his touch judges acted on the incident, and SANZAR’s citing commissioner decided not to cite, ostensibly “because it wasn’t a red card offence” in his opinion.
SANZAR head of marketing and communications Anthony Mackaiser told SuperSport.com “no citing or referral has been received by SANZAR” on Monday and therefore no further hearing nor subsequent punishment will happen.
While Williams is a star of the current Super Rugby season, a case of inconsistency can be made when you consider what would happen if Botha performed a similar shoulder charge?