Levani Botia smashes Tonga to set up try

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Jerry Collins' club perform Haka

Sky Sport NZ's Super Rugby Player Awards

Rayno Benjamin's sneaky trip gets yellow

Awkward interview with 'Honey Bear'

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Hawk-Eye to make World Cup debut at RWC

Springboks bounce back to beat Argentina

Monday, July 08, 2013

Butch James suspended for four weeks for high tackle on Jurgen Visser

Sharks flyhalf Butch James has been suspended for four weeks for a dangerous tackle he made during the 20-19 loss to the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday night. The Bulls scored a try following the tackle, which ultimately gave them the win.

James had been involved in an earlier altercation with lock Wilhelm Steenkamp, who appeared to charge into a ruck with his head. James lashed out with a slap to the face, before yanking his hair.

The TMO checked for foul play but for some reason the producers didn't go back far enough, so Steenkamp wasn't punished on the field. He has been cited however, and will appear before a disciplinary committee for an alleged headbutt on Tuesday.

A few minutes later James made this awful high tackle on Jurgen Visser, flying into and clothes-lining the Bulls centre, earning him a yellow card for it.

Visser handled things brilliantly as he shrugged it off and played on, and was actually the player that made a break through the defence before putting scrumhalf Jano Vermaak away for the winning try. Morne Steyn converted to give them the lead, and despite a late shot at goal that would have won the Sharks the match, the Bulls held on in front of their home crowd.

James apologised to Visser on the way from the field, but he has been suspended for four weeks.

"After careful consideration was given to the video evidence of the incident, the citing report, the report of the referee, the previous disciplinary record of the player and his playing commitments in the future," read a statement from SANZAR.

"[Judicial officer Jannie] Lubbe determined that the player should be suspended for a period of four weeks from July 6 up to and including August 4 2013.

"The sanction was offered to the player who accepted the proposed sanction. The player was accordingly suspended from all rugby from July 6 to August 4, 2013."

UPDATE: You can now view the Steenkamp charge into the ruck on page two here

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Posted by Rugbydump at 1:35 pm | View Comments (18)

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Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 18 comments

yupyupgup July 08, 2013 3:57 pm

Everyone loves a Butch James high tackle! Apart from the victim obviously...

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Moo July 09, 2013 9:40 pm

Not really - there are too many now it's just getting boring. Did Butch skip school the day of the lesson where they taught the boys how to tackle? Though judging by the lack of intelligence shown here, he may have skipped a deal more than that!

In hindsight, it looks like he cost his team the match too, as if he'd made the tackle or attempted anything resembling one, Visser wouldn't have set up the try.

My guess would be the four weeks is because of the list of previous 'issues', which by now must run into a few volumes!

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Pedro July 08, 2013 4:06 pm

Great case of play the whistle. 72 mins gone and even if you switch off for a min thinking it will be called up. Nek minute...

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FoXtroT July 08, 2013 6:11 pm

The good old Butch James special....

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Gonter July 08, 2013 11:24 pm

not to sure this is a four week suspension punishment yes but not 4 weeks!!!

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Guy July 09, 2013 8:11 am

I believe James has a history of citings so I guess there will not have been to many mitigating factors.

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stroudos July 08, 2013 11:47 pm

What a bloody idiot though. Probably deserves four weeks off for sheer stupidity. I can't really understand what goes through a player's head when attempting a tackle like that. Fair play to Visser though for bouncing up and creating that nice try. Check out James immediately after making the hit - bunched up in self-preservation position as if he's expecting a kicking!

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themull July 09, 2013 12:10 am

4 weeks seems very harsh in my eyes..Maybe a week or two at most..i mean if it was only worth a yellow card during the game how can it then be worth 4 weeks afterwards...

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DrG July 09, 2013 1:42 am

I think what the governing bodies are saying is that it is not worth a yellow, it is worth a red...

That is what they say to me when they ban a player given a yellow...

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themull July 09, 2013 11:39 am

But this is an almost weekly occurrence in the game of rugby where players are given yellow cards, or even just a talking to and then a few days later they are banned for weeks/months...If the IRB are really trying to say these incidents are worth more than a yellow well then the refs clearly are not listening..And with good reason because many of the citing commissioners are getting trigger happy in my eyes..

this incident was a yellow card at most and not worth a ban..if it was a vicious swinging arm then it would be different but it's just a case of a clumsy high tackle which caused no injury to either player..

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DrG July 09, 2013 1:18 pm

I'd not argue with a red card and no ban on this one... just purely because it was ridiculous..

I agree with you about refs not listening, but to me, banning a player who gets a yellow card is simply saying "the on pitch punishment was not severe enough"...

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Andy July 09, 2013 11:04 am

Yeah, if it was a first offence he may have been warned or given a slap on the wrist for this, but given the number of "Related posts" on RD with his name on, he's going to be banned whenever he crosses the line. He's spent years perfecting the clothesline and shoulder charge.

Went from winning his team the game to losing his team the game in seconds.

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Eddie-g July 09, 2013 1:30 pm

A leopard never changes his spots... always rated Butch as a flyhalf, but this kind of nonsense has never been far from the surface.

And this time, he probably cost his side the game. 4 weeks is probably about right given his record.

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Gonzoman July 09, 2013 2:20 pm

To those of you complaining about the citing commissioner banning James for an on-field yellow...

In this one instance, the judicial process has worked perfectly! The referee can only hand out punishment for what happens on the field during the match. In this instance, the high tackle was clumsy, reckless and demonstrated a lack of discipline. I personally don't think that it's red-card worthy; I tend to reserve red cards for things like punches, dangerous tip-tackles, and heinous swinging arms/shoulder charges. I'm happy with the yellow for the actual incident.

The citing commissioner has to take into account the pattern of a player's offenses. While what James did on the field is only a yellow IMHO, the pattern of his behaviour suggests that he generally lacks discipline and is prone to hot-headed moments. In this case, a more significant punishment for a player with a track record of boneheaded infringements is warranted.

For once, the IRB got it right.

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DrG July 10, 2013 11:26 am

You're probably right on this one. However considering the red cards I've seen in the past for tackles similar to this (videos of..not me personally) I wouldn't be so sure this was just a yellow card.

If I were to change 2 things, then I believe it would be a guaranteed red:
1) Visser, or any player on the receiving end, stayed down moaning (whether they meant it or not)
2) Tackler was a Pacific Islander....

Those 2 things which SHOULDN'T have any bearing were to change and I guarantee it'd be red...

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browner July 11, 2013 12:29 pm

Law 10.e applies here
Sanction: Penalty Kick

In this case there wasn't an injured player, and the referee was playing advantage [which was duly taken] IMO the post match ban is unwarranted. The referee assessed the situation & could of cautioned or YC or RC , he chose neither - so that should be the end of it.

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DrG July 12, 2013 12:33 am

I'd agree with you however 2 things, firstly injured player or not doesn't mean a thing (unless it is to do with advantage as you said), secondly Gonzoman has summed it up quite well... repeat offender gets punished for his efforts...

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Rugbydump July 13, 2013 10:42 am

Post now updated to include the headbutt/charge into ruck from Steenkamp. He was suspended for two weeks.

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