Sale Sharks flyhalf Robert Du Preez was red carded for a dangerous tackle against Gloucester this past weekend, leading to a citing and subsequent suspension. Last night he faced an independent disciplinary panel to learn his fate.
Du Preez, formerly of the Sharks in Durban, got in a good position to effect a dominant tackle but unfortunately tipped big prop Val Rapava-Ruskin, resulting in the Gloucester front rower landing badly with his face in the turf.
Referee Adam Leal had little option but to issue a straight red card and Sale were left to play the remaining 57 minutes or so with just 14 men.
Rob du Preez dominates prop Val Rapava-Ruskin in the tackle but tips him, dumping him on his head. Red card and suspension (to come) pic.twitter.com/WH9jNQ30eI
— Grant Constable (@GrantConstable) April 20, 2021
The tip tackle contravened World Rugby Law 9.18 and after accepting the charge, Du Preez was given a three-week suspension.
In an articulate latter, he explained his view of the incident, stating that he put a lot of force in the tackle but didn’t expect to be so dominant.
“The incident itself was entirely unintentional and I certainly did not intend to cause any harm to Val,” he explained.
“I saw Val had stolen the ball at the breakdown and had a significant run up before I could get in a position to tackle him. I was also aware of his size and knew I would need to tackle him as hard as I could in order to attempt to bring him down. As I engaged in the tackle I was genuinely surprised at how easily I was able to put force through him.
“Unfortunately as I lifted his legs in the tackle I wasn’t able to control the balance of the tackle and his legs went above the horizontal. I recognised I wouldn’t be able to bring him down safely so I bailed out of the tackle in an attempt to not drive him into the ground.
“I immediately apologised to Val following the incident and sought him out again after being shown the red on the pitch to issue a further apology.”
The capped Springbok will miss Gallagher Premiership Rugby fixtures against Worcester Warriors, Leicester Tigers and Bath.
You can see the incident from other angles in the highlights below