SANZAR applauded for Steyn appeal

2015-03-26 12:01

Cape Town - SANZAR should be applauded for appealing the decision to rescind Frans Steyn’s red card for a dangerous tackle.

READ: Steyn cleared of tip-tackle

The Sharks centre was sent off after performing a tip-tackle on Chiefs flyhalf Aaron Cruden in their Super Rugby clash in Durban last Saturday.

Steyn was cited following the game, but was then found not guilty at a subsequent hearing, with the red card expunged from his record.

However, SANZAR has clearly felt justice was not served and appealed the decision on Wednesday.

Steyn pleaded his innocence and Advocate Jannie Lubbe SQ, who conducted the hearing, found him innocent.

Innocent on what grounds? How do you justify a player lifting another player’s feet, taking him through the horizontal, and dumping/driving him head first into the ground!?

It’s as clear as daylight that Law 10.4 (j) (lifting tackling) was contravened and anything but a red card on the day was the correct decision made.

Part of Lubbe’s explanation read: "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 Aaron Cruden, but that the intervention of his team-mates 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).”

Why should it matter that other players were involved in the tackle?

The law clearly states that it is the responsibility of the lifting player(s) to bring the tackled player to ground safely. In this instance, Steyn was the lifting player and he lifted Cruden above the horizontal, before driving his head into the ground.

Lubbe further commented: "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.”

Where does the law state that because the tackled player’s arm and shoulder touched the ground before his head, that it becomes less severe a situation? It’s natural for a player to extend his arm downwards when realising he’s about to get dumped head first into the ground - in order to save his life!

Retired South African referee, Jonathan Kaplan, agreed with the initial decision to hand Steyn a red card.

Kaplan said earlier this week: “The Steyn incident was complex but in my opinion correct. It is the responsibility of the tackler who lifts an opponent off the ground to ensure that he gets down safely. The fact that someone else joined in the tackle is unfortunate, and was used in mitigation of sentence, but doesn’t excuse what happened.”

It’s pretty simple that Steyn deserved to see red and therefore SANZAR should feel within their rights to appeal the decision.

It’s dangerous to set a precedent where a player can escape without punishment for an offence so severe and the legitimacy of the hearing outcome should be questioned.

It was also interesting to note that, along with Lubbe, De Wet Barry attended as the judicial technical adviser, being a former professional player. Barry was renowned in his playing days as being a serial offender when it came to dangerous tackles.

We are playing a dangerous game if we let our players emerge unscathed after clearly committing indiscretions of a highly dangerous nature.

*A SANZAR Appeals Committee, chaired by Terry Willis, with Nigel Hampton QC and Robert Stelzner SC as members, was initially intended to hear the  appeal on Friday. However, the hearing has since been postponed to Tuesday, March 31 at 08:00 (SA time).


  • Sean Wolf - 2015-03-26 12:11

    Why not appeal all the other wrong decisions then , especially the ones where the Aussies and New Zealanders get off the hook !! What counts for the goose counts for the gander !!

      Juan Potgieter - 2015-03-26 16:09

      Remember Brad Thorn on John Smit. in a Test match.

      Raymond Schep - 2015-03-26 16:26

      Mossie jys vol nonsens. Jy besef nie dat ;'n NZ advokaat is agter die beweging om die saak te heropen,'n man wat NZ spelers verdedig in sulke sake, 'n man wat wat gedurig sè NZ spelers kan niks verkeerd doen nie en 'n man wat sè SA spelers kan niks reg doen nie. 'n man wat enigiets sal doen om Frans van die veld af te hou.

  • Prins van Pretoria - 2015-03-26 12:32

    Mr ATTITUDE of SA Rugby..

  • Johan Van Niekerk - 2015-03-26 12:34

    I am not a Steyn fan! But If this was a Auzie or a Kiwi they would have let it go, the minute that the ruling was out !

  • Reinard Du Plessis - 2015-03-26 12:34

    Anyone who thinks SARU is appealing the decision for the good of the game is being misled. The public spat between Frans and SARU is in the calculation here. SARU would like to make an example, who better than a player who took them on publicly for breach of contract?

      Wayne Van Driel - 2015-03-26 12:39

      Sanzar is appealing, not SARU.

      Mark Sharks - 2015-03-26 14:36

      Wayne SARU is part of SANZAR

      Wayne Van Driel - 2015-03-26 14:49

      Yes I know, but the appeal didn't come from SARU itself.

  • Wayne Van Driel - 2015-03-26 12:36

    Ag Sport24, get off your knees and out of Sanzar's offices please.

      Wayne Van Driel - 2015-03-26 12:38

      "It’s dangerous to set a precedent where a player can escape without punishment for an offence so severe and the legitimacy of the hearing outcome should be questioned." I guess choking another player or putting a knee in a player's back doesn't count for this statement.

      john.fourie.18 - 2015-03-26 14:40

      Or driving in with your shoulder into the back of another player's neck. I don't think Messam was even cited for that.

  • Malcolm86 - 2015-03-26 12:52

    Once again sour grapes from the ever pathetic Sport24!!! They b!tch on and on about the Sharks. Their hatred for the Sharks is absolutely putrid. They would NEVER go and question why Messam was let off the hook or why Hika Elliott was given such a lenient ban! Bloody idiots! Stuff you Sport24! I'm done with this bias, anti-Sharks, dictatorial trash

  • Mark Schrade - 2015-03-26 13:22

    Wipe your face off sport24, your hatred for the sharks and frans steyn is showing....

  • Jano Du Toit - 2015-03-26 13:33

    I thought reporting was supposed to be impartial and only fact based - more than just a little personal sentiment and bias involved with this article...

  • Werner Coetzer - 2015-03-26 13:38

    Sport24's Herman Mostert probably getting a SANZAR "facial" at the moment. wot a tjop

  • Barries Barnard - 2015-03-26 13:39

    lets see if our sarfu have the backbone to do the same when one of our players are at the wrong end of the stick

      Danie Van Rensburg - 2015-03-26 14:30

      What about Willie that came down on his neck. SARU you are useless!!!!!

  • Franco Gates - 2015-03-26 16:06

    Herman Mostert, surely you are just trolling for attention with this article. Very poor attempt to make a name for yourself.

  • Juan Potgieter - 2015-03-26 16:12

    Question... In the past I have only seen yellow cards on tip tackles. Since when is it a red card and since when is a red card not punishment and it has to be referred to a hearing?

  • Barry Lombaard - 2015-03-26 16:18

    What a synical, attention seeking, sour grape artical!

  • Toby Vermaak - 2015-03-26 18:01


  • Daniel Laubscher Roos - 2015-03-26 18:15

    Yes let's make a point with a South African team again and then forget the whole freakin charade when it gets to any other country. Ohh yeah. Bla bla bla. Old story. Applaud your arses. Lets not forget, Steyn deserved the card. Full stop.

  • Cdawg Dubya - 2015-03-26 19:41

    So much anger. He deserved the red and he deserves to be banned. That tackle was an absolute shocker. Speaking of shocking, his disciplinary record does not read like an alter boys either. That said, serve the ban, learn and grow up. Massive talent and much needed presence in SA rugger. But only if you don't cost us games.

  • Stuart McLaren - 2015-03-27 00:34

    Firstly, I can't possibly take Herman Mostert's piece seriously with the lack of grammar in using both a question mark and an exclamation mark together at the end of a sentence. Secondly he asks "Why should it matter that other players were involved in the tackle?" Herman, because the law only states a single tackling player! In this case having more tacklers and therefore contributing to the lack of control Steyn had was a mitigating factor! A yellow against Steyn's record is adequate in my opinion should the appeal be successful, certainly not a U-turn on the withdrawal of the red card...

      Owen Lentz - 2015-03-27 01:10

      Good comment

  • Aleko Bratos - 2015-03-27 11:08

    Reading Herman Mostert's article got me thinking. The speed of play is, sometimes, blindingly quick. It is all well to say that Steyn should have put Cruden down gently, but when you look at the replay at full speed, you can see that Reinach got in there so quickly and added so much momentum that there was no way that Steyn had control of the situation. Bismarck's card on the other hand was well deserved. Sheer stupidity by a very experienced player. However during the same passage of play Messam had Bothma around the throat, trying as hard as he could to choke him. If you examine the footage of Bismarck's kick you can clearly see the choke. No broohaha over this. The fact that their Hooker could have paralyzed Beast also raised no controversy. Why is it that when SANZAR wants to dish out punishment, they usually savage South African players. Wether the decision to rescind the red card was correct or not, it's about damn time that our players get the rub of the green for once!!

  • Louis Pierre Lazare - 2015-03-31 17:22


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