Sharks prop Jannie Du Plessis has been issued an off-field yellow card following a slap that sparked an all-in brawl between the Hurricanes and Sharks in New Plymouth on Saturday. The hosts played some great rugby and won the game 42-18.
Fiery flanker Karl Lowe and Du Plessis, brother of hooker Bismarck, had exchanged words at the ruck before a shove to the chest/face prompted a return slap from the Springbok front rower. This sparked a brawl the likes of which we haven’t seen for a long time in Super Rugby.
“It was a pretty hard slap and he’s a big boy. I wouldn’t like to meet him down a dark alley,” Lowe said after the game. Hooker Dane Coles said he emerged from a ruck to see mass chaos.
“I looked up and saw three different scraps going on. I tried to break it up but it was a decent bust-up. I’ll have to watch the replay and see how it went. It was like a State of Origin fight. But once it was over the boys got on with the job,” said the Hurricanes’ Coles.
“Hopefully nothing comes out of it. What happens on the field should stay on the field,” he added.
Despite the majority of players getting involved at some point, most of which wasn’t caught on camera, Du Plessis was the only player to be issued an off-field card, as he instigated the ruckus.
Referee Glen Jackson issued a white card to both sides and penalised the Sharks upon recommendation of his touchjudge. The Springbok front rower was later charged with ‘Punching or striking an opponent’. He has not been suspended, but the yellow card will go on his record.
“The citing commissioners, after they looked at the full footage, saw Jannie du Plessis struck Karl Lowe with an open hand,” said SANZAR CEO Greg Peters told the Sunday Star-Times.
“It didn’t, in their minds, reach the threshold for a citing, even though it did spark the incident, which wasn’t a good look. They’ve looked at the initial strike from Jannie and Karl Lowe’s response, plus other players who were involved.
“I haven’t counted up the number of players who ran in but they’ve considered the full incident,” he added, saying that Du Plessis was very close to a meeting with the judiciary.
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