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Friday Mar 16, 2018

Bulls prop avoids red card for late shot after referee is talked down by TMO

Bulls prop avoids red card for late shot after referee is talked down by TMO

Bulls prop Conraad van Vuuren narrowly avoided a red card when the Chiefs and the Bulls met in Hamilton in the opening game of round 5 of Super Rugby. The Bulls led for large parts but the wheels came off in the second half, as the Chiefs picked up a 41-28 win at home.

With just 13 minutes left and scores evenly poised at 29-28 to the hosts, replacement prop Van Vuuren made this late tackle on Damian McKenzie, nearly knocking his head off in the process.

McKenzie was sliding down so the contact was minimal, but because of his body position, the prop’s swinging arm was too close to the playmaker’s head for the referee’s liking.

If McKenzie were standing upright, height wouldn’t be an issue but perhaps more significantly, the tackle was very late so all factors considered, it looked very dangerous.

Referee Shuhei Kubo was set on a red card after TMO Shane McDermott drew his attention to the tackle but was then talked down by McDermott, who made mention of McKenzie slipping into the tackle.

Former Test referee Jonathan Kaplan aired his views during the match, stating that a yellow card was well deserved but it definitely could have been a red card. 

No complaints there at all.. Lucky not to get Red! Lucky. The fact that he slipped only saved carrier from more damage! And how late was that !?!?

Whether McKenzie ducked intentionally or not, he was very fortunate to not be injured.

With just over ten minutes left in the match, Van Vuuren might as well have been red carded, as momentum was with the Chiefs against 14 men, and they scored two late tries for the win.


Upon further review of the match footage, the Citing Commissioner deemed in his opinion the incident had met the Red Card threshold for foul play.

The SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee then accepted a guilty plea from Van Vuuren, who was later suspended for 3 weeks.

“This was an objectively dangerous tackle,” said Foul Play Review Committee Chairman, Nigel Hampton QC. “With respect to sanction the Foul Play Review Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of 6 weeks due to the lateness of the tackle and the Player’s direct contact to his opponent’s head.

“However, taking into account mitigating factors including the Player’s youth, his clean Judicial record and his guilty plea at the earliest possible opportunity, the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension to 3 weeks.”

Both teams scored excellent tries, including a scorcher from brilliant lock Brodie Retallick.



  • drg
    10:05 PM 19/03/2018


  • rugbydump
    8:33 AM 19/03/2018

    UPDATE: Van Vuuren has been suspended for 3 weeks.

  • bokskick
    9:03 PM 16/03/2018

    Yellow was the right colour...

  • drg
    6:52 PM 16/03/2018

    I'm happy with the card based on the incident, however I sort of disagree with the slipping side of things, I think the slipping made it better... Had he not slipped I think it would be properly shoulder to head, if not that, then he would have had the hit full force. So I think it worked in everyone's favour in this instance...

  • flanker2712
    6:47 PM 16/03/2018

    I think if a tackle is not late, but a player slips, ducks, gets tripped etc and you end up going high, it is harsh on the defender and that should be taken into account. However, once you decide to go late (and that usually is a decision, no matter how split second it is), I think you should have to assume liability for things that happen, even if unexpected, that result in your late tackle being worse/more dangerous than you thought it would be. In this case Mackenzie slipped so far that the forearm ended up hitting his forehead and sliding up. Had he not slipped as much, it could have caught him in the chin, nose or eye and been much worse.

  • jimmy23
    4:57 PM 16/03/2018

    The lateness warranted a yellow but in terms of the height I think he was correct to factor in the fact that he slipped. I understand the need to be strict on contact with the head I've always felt it's a bit harsh to punish the defender when something occurs that's out of their control. It's rugby and sometimes, shit happens.


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Bulls prop avoids red card for late shot after referee is talked down by TMO | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos