Butch James had a great game on the weekend, all but steering his new side, the Lions, to victory over the visiting Sharks. He slipped up though with a typically Butch-like tackle on flanker Keegan Daniel, meaning he was off the field for ten minutes, allowing the Sharks back into the game.
James, who is back in South Africa to increase his chances of being at the Rugby World Cup, was given a lifeline by the Lions, who now have a solid financial backing and are looking to turn things around in Johannesburg. The flyhalf has certainly made a difference, with the Lions showing the kind of continuity and passion that has been way too sporadic in years gone by.
They almost pulled off the win too, and were up 30-9 at one stage. A host of Sharks substitutions – including the introduction of Frederic Michalak – as well as James being yellow carded meant that a big comeback took place. The game ended 30-30.
James has since been cited for his second half tackle on Keegan Daniel, the tackle that earned him ten minutes on the sideline. Under Law 10.4 (e) for dangerous tackling, James will face a judicial hearing on Wednesday of this week in Johannesburg.
While he’s never been a stranger to this type of hit, his general play and perfect goal kicking will be encouraging for the Springboks, and he has been named in their initial World Cup squad.
His discipline in the tackle has always been a problem though, as can be seen here. He did however make another big tackle earlier in the game that was deemed legal, on Stefan Terblanche. You can view both in the playlist below, and decide for yourself if you think a citing and further action is necessary.
Update: 16/06/2011 – James has been suspended for four weeks by SANZAR. The offence was classified as mid-range, and has been deferred (the Lions have a bye) to commence on Monday July 20th, meaning he will be out of all rugby up to 17 July.