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
A look at the Steenkamp headbutt that was mentioned in the article. Somehow the TMO wasn’t shown it by the producers, but the Bulls lock received a two week ban after he was cited for it.
The ref getting bowled over and being treated while chatting to the TMO was a bit of a first too.