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Monday, September 10, 2012

Eben Etzebeth banned for attempted headbutt on Nathan Sharpe

Young Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth has been suspended for two weeks for an attempted headbutt on veteran Wallaby Nathan Sharpe. The incident took place midway through the first half of the Perth Test match between the two sides.

Etzebeth was cited following the match after he was alleged to have contravened Law 10.4 (a) Punching or Striking after he got in a minor scuffle with opposition second rower Sharpe.

At the time it looked as though no contact was made, but replays showed that foreheads made slight contact, which earlier today resulted in a two week ban for Western Province lock Etzebeth.

The citing commisioner deemed the incident to be worthy of a red card, and SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Nigel Hampton QC suspended Etzebeth for two weeks after ruling the following:

"I was satisfied that this was not an attempt just to push the opposing player away by using his head without contact being made. The player brought his forehead forward and downward with a degree of speed and force into the nose area of the opposing player making contact with that player.

"This was a deliberate act done as a part of an episode of escalating “tit for tat” pushing and shoving between the two players. As to sanction, intentional striking with the head into the face of another is not to be countenanced under any circumstances."

Etzebeth, who made his Springbok debut against England a few months ago, will miss the Test against the All Blacks this coming Saturday. He will likely be replaced in the squad by 32 year-old Bakkies Botha, who has been playing with Toulon in France.

"Bakkies is on stand-by," explained coach Heyneke Meyer from Auckland on Monday. "We are in contact with Bakkies. We keep in touch with all the overseas-based players. The guys know who is on stand-by and exactly where they stand."

Do you think players should be suspended when there is intent involved, or only if they make significant contact? Let us know in the comments below.

Posted at 9:06 am | 61 comments

Young lock Eben Etzebeth smashes Bismarck Du Plessis

Valery Tsnobiladze suspended for headbutt on Sean O'Brien

Romana Graham headbutt on Sean Maitland in ITM Cup Final

Bakkies Botha dangerous clearout on Dewaldt Duvenage

Keven Mealamu's headbutt on Lewis Moody at Twickenham

Dimitri Szarzewski headbutt on Jean-Philippe Genevois

Bakkies Botha suspended for headbutt on Jimmy Cowan

Jerome Schuster cited for headbutt against Munster

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 61 comments

LB September 10, 2012 11:00 am

Contact first then decide if there was intent... Classic that Bakkies is next of the rank, he doesn't exactly have the best head butting track record.

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Eggman September 10, 2012 11:12 am

Seems pretty harsh to ban him.. Nothing happened.. If the ref didnt pick up on it during the game just forget about it. Even if the ref saw something I don't think a card or even a penalty should have been given. Just tell him to calm down and not to do it again
Etzebeth should try to keep a cooler head though.

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AndrewG September 10, 2012 11:20 am

Its a bit inconsistent if you consider how many punches are thrown that miss yet there is no sanction applied. The current rules suggest that you need contact first, not just intent. It was a stupid thing to do as headbutting is right up there for longest bans if guilty, but to get 2 weeks ban for not really landing anything seems a bit harsh.

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katman September 10, 2012 11:33 am

What a rubbish banning. Next we'll be banning players for intending to tackle high or late, whether they did or not.

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stuart September 10, 2012 11:53 am

can't really compare an attempted late tackle to a headbutt! if you try to headbutt someone you are doing something that can cause significant damage to someone and above all else it is a cheap shot that is frankly against the spirit of the sport. Right to ban him for 2 weeks, it was an attempt at a headbutt rather than to make sharpey flinch.

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Guy September 10, 2012 12:02 pm

Can't say I feel sorry for Bruno; for God's sake, there are dozens of camera's. Did he really expect to get away with it? Let's be happy it's just two weeks and hope he has learned his lesson.

By the way: how hard he really hit him doesn't matter at all. If that is being considered in the punishment, it will just make the opposing players fall over more easily when they are being touched. We've seen a couple of examples of that behaviour in France recently and everybody despises that.

And to be honest: Nathan Sharpe behaves like an absolute sissy in this video. He himself is one af the instigators but as soon as somebody tries something on him he goes looking for attention from the match officials. That's just as pathetic as falling over, especially considering (the lack of) force from the impact.

All in all: not a good promotion for the best sport in the universe.

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stroudos September 10, 2012 12:11 pm

Excellent post Guy, agree with every word of that.

Nice work getting the "Brüno" reference in too! I think he also resembles Stiffler from the American Pie films, but I'm sure Brüno would be more insulting to him so that's probably the better option.

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Guy September 10, 2012 6:54 pm

Never thought about the Stiffler resemblance to be honest but that's another good one. Makes me wonder what Stiffler's mom looks like, in this case....

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matt September 10, 2012 6:23 pm

I agree with everything you say but I feel it's a bit harsh to have a go at Sharpe.
Part of the appeal of rugby is the confrontation and aggro between packs, but when someone comes out with a cheap shot like that I think he has every right to turn to the officials, diving on the floor would be another matter entirely.
It is the best sport in the universe though.

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moddeur September 10, 2012 10:42 pm

I'll be the first to agree that players in general should know better than to get into fights, given the amount of cameras around, and given that it takes their focus away from their game. In fact I really dislike it when some players keep on fighting while play goes on.

But I don't see why shoving/grappling in a virile manner, or shoulderbutting in rucks should be considered "less condemnable" than pretending to give a headbutt.

Perhaps the IRB needs to hire a few precogs to stop headbutts before they occur, to nip any form of intent in the bud.
Or perhaps it's time for a "Real IRB" split from the mainstream? Because the more they'll punish this type of offence, and the more diving we're going to get.

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Connor September 10, 2012 12:04 pm

Nathan Sharpe is the biggest girl. He can't even take a slight tap to the head without backing down and crying to the officials.

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sha 1966 September 10, 2012 12:08 pm

Poor rugby!! If you 're banned for someone thought to do something without having done any thinking about it. I thought put a big headbutt my collector! Oh my god I'm having a penalty fee of taxes.
Stop!

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filth September 10, 2012 12:13 pm

Nothing in that. Fuck I hate rugby officials. Absolute wankers who have never played the game before. Is it any wonder I'm watching Rugby League now days. Absolutely pathetic.

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Tiggsy September 10, 2012 12:13 pm

OMG, Nathan Sharpe, you pussy... thought this was rugby not football! Was he asking for his mum to come and help him???

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Woz September 10, 2012 1:07 pm

He's still a young lad, I'm not using that as an excuse to condone his actions but hopefully he can learn to control his anger a little bit.

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Bobby September 10, 2012 1:23 pm

Irrespective of what others think he got two weeks , One thing for certain ,he think twice next time he gets hot headed

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Pretzel September 10, 2012 4:06 pm

I'm not 100% sure, but it did look like he actually MADE contact, therefore 90% of the comments above mine are irrelevant. I get where you are all coming from though, I think if there had been NO contact at all then this would be an absolute travesty, but the fact there WAS contact makes it a "justified" travesty... if that makes sense...

It was pathetic to say the least, I mean it brings home the age old video I often bring up, of a pathetic head butt that resulted in a red card: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rJrZdhtJQ4

There has to be; somewhere, someone with the brains to turn around and say, "yes technically, but come on lads grow a pair!"

This was weak, but as Guy said, what kind of a clown is Etzebeth to even attempt that kind of crap. Look at gouging, how often did we see a player get banned for having hands in the vicinity of someones eyes with no attempt to gouge...

Sadly it doesn't say much for the "brawn not brains" label that often gets stuck on second rows....

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Guy September 10, 2012 6:51 pm

Good grief, I almost forgot about that one. I just had a good laugh all over again. A hooker being decked by a winger. I hope he still gets flagg for that at every Chrsitmas party he attends.

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ruppansy September 11, 2012 1:26 am

I agree with you Pretzel. You gotta admit though that EE made Sharpe wet his pants. If EE really wanted to butt him, he would have. Silly 2 weeks - not sure who is more silly, the commissioner or Bruno!

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ruppansy September 11, 2012 1:26 am

I agree with you Pretzel. You gotta admit though that EE made Sharpe wet his pants. If EE really wanted to butt him, he would have. Silly 2 weeks - not sure who is more silly, the commissioner or Bruno!

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Pretzel September 11, 2012 10:49 pm

I disagree that he made Sharpe "wet his pants" I think Sharpe was shocked that EE would even consider doing that, but if he had the gains would be far greater for the Wallabies so to some extent Sharpe probably thought "try it again"

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Jon September 12, 2012 1:48 am

Why would Sharpe care?
He's been bashed, tackled, punched, kneed, gouged, elbowed, kicked, stomped on and everything else a thousand times.
The guy's played 108 test matches and hundreds of club and provincial games.
As if one little headbutt would bother him. It barely landed.
The Aussies aren't scared of the Boks, they've beaten them too many times for that. Five times in a row now, and they've done it by matching them physically then out thinking them. Which, given their extremely simple tactics, isn't very hard.

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Stubby September 10, 2012 4:12 pm

contact was made. The rules are clear and so was the intent.

Sharpe should be banned for searching for mommy after he got hit. What pussy i mean soccer i mean stupid thing to do. Are you a rugby player or an effing mouse?

ANY player looking for mommy instead of playing the game is a douchebag.

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matt September 10, 2012 6:27 pm

But if he swings back then he gets binned and banned too, how is that fair? He's using his brain rather than headbutting things, something which as I understand it is part of the game.

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Pretzel September 10, 2012 6:44 pm

@Matt, spoken like a true genius!

Although I'd have loved to see a scrap between Sharpe and Etzebeth, we all know it would have probably ended in a yellow card for them both and no doubt some sort of bullshit ban. Sharpe has the experience to know the game is not what it was and that scrapping is dealt with harshly.

To all those Sharpe "haters", what was he supposed to do? Matt has just mentioned that he'd be banned for reacting with a punch, so what other options does he have? Stop, turn around and walk away?!?!? Stand there dead still??? Fall over??? Appeal?

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Reality September 10, 2012 7:11 pm

Maybe they expected something like this to happen. If they think looking for assistance from the officials was outrageous, shameful behaviour, and they obviously would have complained if he had headbutted him back, then this is the only remaining option I can think of: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKvqXxsPDQk

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Tiggsy September 11, 2012 7:52 am

what was Sharpe supposed to do... not cry to the ref thats for sure. he should have stood face to face and smiled at the newbie. lets not forget, Sharpe has how much more experience than EE. Come on, he should know how to behave!

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Pretzel September 11, 2012 2:36 pm

As someone has already said:

1. If Sharpe floors EE, then he probably gets a red card and the Wallabies lose the match.

2. If he stands there like a robot then he's odd, and we all know its pointless and means nothing because he'd never throw a punch (see first point for reasons!)

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Reality September 10, 2012 7:19 pm

I like the way everyone says that Sharpe was a little bitch for looking to the officials for help, because obviously Etzebeth is a real tough-guy; headbutting his opponent like that. If only he had done it while Sharpe wasn't looking; that would have been even more manly.

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rugby08 September 11, 2012 10:34 am

Agree it's ridiculous

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Indhans September 10, 2012 8:29 pm

How often do we see hands brushing faces, elbows on chests, pushing with both hands onto bodies etc etc.
This is just another form of Australian " justice" If this is the precedent for the future then there should be at least five suspensions after every game. What about a suspension for " dirty thoughts " in future. I see the one SANZAR official was a "QC" - oh my word - so much for Australian Law.

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peanut gallery September 10, 2012 9:18 pm

To me it looks like Eben just tried to scare Sharpie, i think if he really wanted to headbutt the old geezer with everything he had, he could have.

@Pretzel - no dude, no contact was made, maybe if this was some physics experiment you could say that contact was made, but in rugby terms see the video underneath this one for what contact means.

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Pretzel September 10, 2012 9:58 pm

I have already posted a video in my comment about a weak headbutt. Learn the definition of contact, it matters not if it is the weakest contact or the hardest. How HARD do you have to touch the ball down over the try line for it to be a try? "Rugby terms" have nil to do with the fact his head made contact with Sharpe's head, this as well as the fashion in which the contact was made means that it can therefore be ruled as a headbutt... it was not an "Attempted headbutt" it was a successful headbutt... but as I already said, it needs someone to say "don't be a prick" and kick Etzebeth up the arse for even doing it, don't bother banning him...

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peanut gallery September 10, 2012 11:04 pm

That's the exact kind of thinking that resulted in Etzebeth getting banned.
We have to use common sense and not mindlessly follow the rules exactly as they were written. When the law was made obviuously "contact" was used to differentiate between an unsuccessful and a successful attack, but no room was made for an attack that physically made contact contact but had no effect - like this one.
By your defenition of contact being "physically making contact no matter how small" you are saying that there is no difference between what happened here and a headbutt that breaks a nose.
To put it another way, if this had been a fighting contest, would that have been scored as a successful headbutt?

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Alex_The_Kiiid! September 10, 2012 11:28 pm

A headbutt is a headbutt in Rugby, it is illegal, therefore he gets banned...simple! It has been this way for years, nothing new. It wasnt huge contact, but thats why he only got 2 weeks. But they are professionals, they clearly understand the rules. Its all about discipline, and Etzebeth lacks in this department.

This isnt the first time hes lost it, it happened against the Argies as well and that pretty much cost them the game. Sharpe used his brain...he has experience and discipline, he knows not to retaliate. He realized he had been headbutted, and knew Aussie would get a penalty or Etzebeth sin binned...Sharpe knows how to win, hes a professional!

Etzebeth may become a liability to the Boks if he doesn't sort his discipline out. Teams will target him and try to get a reaction, knowing that he'll lose the plot!

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Pretzel September 11, 2012 1:57 am

No that is the kind of thinking which works with the rest of the world. If you want to determine what constitutes worthy contact then by all means go ahead. Personally I would hate that job, it would be pathetic, pedantic, pitiful and generally weak. Is a headbutt on Bakkies Botha as bad as a headbutt on say Peter Stringer?

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Jon September 11, 2012 2:22 am

'Sigh' In the old days Sharpe would have belted him right back, punches would have flown, it would have been chaos for a couple minutes, then everyone would have separated, dusted themselves off and got on with the game. No penalties, no cards, maybe a stern talking to from the ref.
I know it's a more professional game these days and all that, but I do miss the controlled chaos of yesteryear.

For people critisizing Sharpe, yes he looked to the officials, yes it seems a bit soft, but what's he supposed to do?
He has no choice. If he hits Etzbeth back he goes to the bin, maybe gets banned, costs his team, lets down his country.
If he just stands there and does nothing, he's probably a robot.
What's he supposed to do?

For people questioning his courage, try playing over 100 test matches in the second row, then you get to call into question his character.

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Raoulito September 11, 2012 2:35 am

there is no "small" forward passes, only forward passes...
there is no "small" headbutt, only headbutt...
The "fair play" is mentionned in rugby, as an essential part of the game...and i'm still looking about the headbutt... does someone know at wich page it's mentionned?
I remember a time where diferents between players were solved by huge tackle like Josh Lewsey on Matt Rogers...Are those years over?
sorry for my poor english an RD kicks ass


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Shaun September 11, 2012 2:43 am

If you think Sharpe didn't over react and show how big a girl he really is then you're kidding yourself. He knew exactly what he was doing goading a younger inexperienced player looking for a reaction and knowing full well that he would run to the ref when he got it. He's a panzy and a very dirty player himself.

I'm also glad that Etzabeth got banned for his reaction, because I think he'll learn from it and come back a better player - there is no need to react the way he did. Hopefully he'll learn to hit the next ruck harder and tackle the next player with greater force. There is nothing more effective than NOT letting a player like Sharpe get under your skin, cause that's all they have.

Personally I strongly dislike players like Sharpe who are more interested in playing players than actually playing the ball.

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Jon September 11, 2012 3:54 am

Shaun, that doesn't really make sense.
Sharpe was clearly surprised that Etzbeth head butted him. Very few players do stuff like that anymore, I very much doubt that he expected him to do it. He is a young hot head though, so I guess maybe it shouldn't have been as much of a surprise.

The idea that Sharpe is a pansy is based on what exactly? Because he brought it to the refs attention? You really think a guy could play over 100 test matches at second row and be a pansy? Pretty big call to make, especially from behind a keyboard. That pansy has played South Africa many times and been on the winning end more than he has been on the losing end. I doubt he's scared of the South Africans. Given that he walked into a crowd of about four of them grabbed the biggest one and gave him a gob full then stayed standing in front of him after the guy tried to head but him, suggests he's not a shrinking violet.

The fact is Sharpe would have been a fool if he had punched or fought Etzbeth. Just as Etzbeth was a fool to headbutt Sharpe.

The way the game is, there's zero leniency for this kind of thing. It just isn't tolerated and if you do it, you are letting down your team and your country.

Sharpe and Etzbeth were exchanging words, which happens in every single test match. Etzbeth was then a fool and threw a headbut (and got himself banned).
Sharpe did what players are basically asked to do these days and took the headbutt without reacting physically. He looked at the ref. At the end of the day, if you tell players that they can't defend themselves or they'll get banned or carded, and then complain when they look to the officials to stop fights happening, you are just being a hypocrite.

Either allow fights and punches (I wouldn't mind, given the history of Australian rugby players, they wouldn't mind either), or don't allow them but don't be shocked when players do what Sharpe did.

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shaun September 11, 2012 5:04 am

Jon, I'm not saying he expected a head butt response...but he was looking for a response (I repeat... stupid Etzebeth for responding to Sharpe and I hope he learns that its not worth it). You are right Sharpe is no fool, he wasn't looking for a fight he was looking for a penalty or a card to give the wallabies the upper hand as he always does - what is surprising it that people still fall for it after 108 games.

Sharpe is the one that shoved Etzabeth not just an exchange of words. I've watched most of Sharpes 100+ test and he is an antagoniser, he aims to rub people up and get a reaction. He's entitled to do what he wants, but IMHO that's pretty panzy if you rely on being pathetic to get you a reaction and an upper hand.

I wouldn't call Sharpe brave either he's only 3cm shorter and 2kgs lighter, so it's not like he thought oh I'll be brave and push the big guy...they are the same size. He shoved Etzebeth because that's his MO, work someone up the wrong way until the reaction comes and then milk the penalty.

I'm not asking for anyone to agree with me, I'm just give my opinion like everyone else and saying that I THINK it's pretty lame the way Sharpe goes about his game.

And yes for the record, I wish they would bring back good old fashioned rucking and a bit more lenience for the physical stuff (excl. head buts :)

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Jon September 11, 2012 5:43 am

Alrite mate, fair enough, I disagree but we're both bias I guess.

The truth is that we're both guessing at both player's thoughts and intentions.

I do know of one Saffer who doesn't share your opinion of Sharpe in Victor Matfield, who regarded him as a fair player. But I guess that's neither here nor there.

My suggestion that Sharpe was brave comes from the fact that he has played professional rugby in a very physically demanding position and has done so in over 100 test matches. To me (and I would think most people) that suggests that he has at least a moderate amount of courage.

And I definitely see eye to eye with you on the old days of punch ups and rucking. I miss the occasional all in brawl we used to get to see. They still manage it in rugby league from time to time and the world keeps spinning, wish they could manage it in union.

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Shaun September 11, 2012 6:15 am

Agreed and I'm never afraid to say I might be wrong.
I haven't heard Matfield's statements but he wouldn't definitely know more about Sharpe the player than I would from my couch.

I definitely enjoy the occasional brawl in league, especially come state of origin time :)

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Pretzel September 13, 2012 11:12 pm

He shoved EE after EE deliberately walked into him....

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Pretzel September 11, 2012 2:48 pm

I have to completely disagree with you here Shaun. 0:31 you see Nathan Sharpe with his back to us pointing at something... Etzebeth walks into him, and it was not accidental, it was a dig in its own. Sharpe pushes him and then walks towards him as if to say, "oh so you're tough then?" from here it Etzebeth would have grabbed him I'm sure a typical gentle scuffle would have occurred and that would have been it, but he takes it further and headbutts Sharpe. We can ALL agree it was probably one of the worlds weakest headbutts, but it was still a headbutt, Sharpe turns around almost bemused and says "did you see that"....

If you also watch the video, at 0:37 you can see Bryan Habana come in looking AT Sharpe and trying to break up the scuffle, after the headbutt Habana looked enraged and is staring right at Etzebeth and he grabs Etzebeth. Everyone knows EE was an idiot for doing it.

The fact remains that the game has changed in which players cannot retaliate. Look at POC v Cudmore, that was a few years ago now, POC took a fair few punches before he retaliated and he STILL got a yellow card for it... so players have to be smart, they have to understand that if they dish out their own justice they will be punished. I would love to see the game of old where bok players would look at EE after a match and say, well you did deserve a clock from Sharpe, but those days are gone.

Rightly or wrongly I feel Sharpe reacted in a way which made perfect sense... it was an amused, bemused, bewildered, "WTF" look, he knew it didn't hurt, so he wasn't going to dive to the ground pretending to be mortally wounded, but he knew that kind of bollocks needs to be dealt with by the officials, because he himself is not allowed to deal with it as he'd like too....

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rugby08 September 11, 2012 4:40 pm

Excellent summary Pretzel

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IrishRef September 11, 2012 12:04 pm

it's an interesting incident alright but officials cannot be seen to be anything less than consistent in applying the laws within the framework at their disposal.

I do have a certain amount of understanding with the notion of it being very soft and rugby is a game for men etc etc, but when you put the boot on the other foot and try to think as if you were an official, then I think the situation becomes quite different.

Referee here takes no blame, he is busy trying to clean up a bit of a scuffle and was no doubt unsighted at the moment of the incident itself. He chose not to use the white card and it was the citing commissioner who picked up on it.

I believe contact was made, very briefly. Now at this point the citing commissioner cannot arbitrarily decide that the contact was too light to warrant a ban - his job is purely to assess whether a red card could have been given and if the answer is yes, a judicial hearing is forthcoming.

I think the fact that the ban meted out was just 2 weeks tells us that whilst according to the letter of the law Etzebeth was in contravention of 10.4(a) - it was deemed about as low in seriousness as you can get for any headbut.

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rugby08 September 11, 2012 12:17 pm

I don't see anything wrong with what Sharpe did. He's an experienced player and he knew that young Eben would crack, and he did.

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Indhansh September 13, 2012 8:00 pm


EE Should have just broken his nose and removed his front teeth forever. No prisoners taken here.

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Vinicius Guedes September 11, 2012 7:49 pm

Eben, too young, too lost.
It was a teaser, not much, but could turn into something worse.

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Merlin September 12, 2012 12:54 am

Read about twenty posts then got bored of reading the same thing.
Nathan Sharpe is playing rugby. Pushing and shoving int his physical game is normal. Headbutting most certainly is not.
EE was being an absolute knob. Sharpe was less 'crying' and more shocked that the fool would headbutt him in the face in front of the ref. Do you genuinely think he was hurt or scared by it??
He was right to not retaliate.
EE hard connected with Sharpes face. I hate showy crap like this. I pay as hard as anyone, but there is zero need to EVER strike someone in this way. Someone pisses you off? Smash them next ruck tackle, but do it in a legal way.
Should have been banned for longer. No place for this in rugby.

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rememberthemer September 12, 2012 5:48 am

Lot of outraged and frustrated hard cases here. It's pretty simple - throw a headbutt and you should get suspended. 2 weeks for a lame one, 10 for something more serious.

As ever, the real problem is consistency. Eben gets 2 weeks, but last year the same folks exonerated Quade Cooper of kneeing McCaw in the face. WTF? Not dealing with this shit properly is damaging to the perpetrator as much as anyone. Eben will learn a lot from this.

A few years ago, the South African admins went soft on Bakkies Botha after he tried to assassinate Gio Aplon with a flying headbutt. He should have got 6 months but they gave him a "4 weeks & back in time for the Tri Nations" suspension. Did Botha learn from the soft-touch treatment and did South Africa benefit? No, because 5 minutes into his first game back he was nutting Jimmy Cowan.

Just imagine if the responsible authorities had made a 20 year old Botha accountable for his actions. Maybe he would have learned to channel his aggression effectively and become a great player in his own right, not just a very good but thuggish sidekick to the great Matfield.

More importantly though, perhaps Gio Aplon would have suffered one less concussion in his career.

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Pretzel September 12, 2012 4:32 pm

Either that or Bakkies would have just been a Cudmore and spent more time serving suspensions than actually playing... but yeh I do get your point...

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remeberthemer September 13, 2012 11:52 am

True indeed. Just before I posted I remembered "this is f##king Bakkies Botha".

So I went back and added the "maybe".

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Mileezer September 12, 2012 9:49 am

I think it was a bit harsh, yes the intent was there, but no harm was done to Sharpe. Hes a young guy and hes just playing his first couple of tests, so his temper is bound to boil at some point.

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FlyingScotsman September 14, 2012 1:14 pm

Some people just need to grow some balls, its rugby! Things like this happen all the time, I’m not saying its right, but in a game where 110kg players throw themselves around at each other its inevitable that testosterone will kick in and stuff like this will happen, Sharpe is a veteran, if he can take a wee head-butt, what has he been doing for the last 15 years? After all, the fight or flight instinct is natural! If someone tells me they have played rugby and never had a tussle or thrown a sly dig I’d say you’re lying.

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Pretzel September 14, 2012 5:33 pm

Don't think anyone is disputing that they've played rugby and never been in the mix of a situation, no one is disputing head butts happen... it is more a case of "do we let this one go because it was weak as piss, therefore creating a precedent where we have to measure the strength of any contact before deciding if its worthy of a ban" .....

I am all for the game of old where people sort out differences with a few attempted punches, followed by a sort of group hug as everyone tries to either get involved or separate the players, ending in a talking to by the referee, or worst case a yellow card. I despise the way players are not allowed to use the boot on a player lying on the wrong side. In fact I think the game has indeed "gone soft" but, I find it difficult to embrace the game of new which is judged by camera angles, video referee's, white cards, retrospective yellow cards (yeh wtf!) and every thing under the moon without it being clear cut and correct...

The game of old, I'd have turned around and said, "honestly they even consider reviewing this?!?!?!" but the new game, its a case of "well it was a headbutt technically, and so where do we draw the line?"

Take Berrick Barnes, nice guy I am sure, but he has a glass jaw... so if I punch him JUST hard enough to knock him flat should I get a yellow or red card for it? Especially seeing as the same punch on someone like Bakkies Botha would make him wonder why I am trying to tickle him... Probably a bad example, but get my drift?

I'm not saying this would cause pain or injury to anyone, but how much force has to be applied for us to say "not hard enough, still not hard enough, AH yes, just crossed the line, it is now JUST hard enough to warrant a punishment"....

We either over think the whole damn thing, or we ignore it altogether, which leaves us open for ignoring SERIOUS things...

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Bawheid September 22, 2012 11:21 pm

Eben Etzebeth should be ashamed. That was the worst headbutt I've ever seen.

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