Springbok lock Flip van der Merwe has been suspended following the 28-8 victory over the Wallabies on Saturday. Van Der Merwe was yellow carded by referee Jerome Garces, but was later cited for the offence that was deemed worthy of a red card.
A SANZAR Judicial Hearing found Van der Merwe guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (e) Dangerous Tackling, which also constituted a breach of Law 10.4 (a) Striking after he was cited following thet Rugby Championship match at Newlands.
The SANZAR Judicial Hearing was held via video conference on Monday 30th September. Van der Merwe has been suspended for one week up to and including 5th October 2013.
In his finding, Nicholas Davidson QC ruled the following:
The player was initially sin-binned for a dangerous tackle but the citing alleged a deliberate striking.
After hearing from the player’s counsel, the player and the South African Manager, the Judicial Officer concluded that this was a breach of Law 10.4 (e) as a dangerous tackle executed high and leading with the forearm and without any attempt to grasp the player in the initial contact.
It was also a strike under Law 10.4 (a) but not intentional as cited. Mr Mike Mika, a former professional player, assisted the Judicial Officer.
Van der Merwe has a good disciplinary record at international and Super Rugby level and has never before been suspended. Springbok manager Mr Schwartz spoke extremely well of him as a player and a personality in the game.
Although breach was denied, the Judicial Officer concluded that his record and conduct including a concerned approach to the Australian player warranted a discount to a one-week suspension only.
The Springboks have called up namesake Franco van der Merwe to the squad as cover.
“Losing any player, for whatever reasons, is never ideal but Franco knows our structures and plans very well, having been part of the squad since June last year,” said coach Heyneke Meyer.
It was an awkward looking ‘tackle’ and while being spoken to by Garces, Van der Merwe claimed that he fell over. He was also quick to point out the difference between his and Michael Hooper’s tip-tackle (that also resulted in a yellow card).