Do Not Sell My Personal Information
RugbyDump RugbyDump
Friday Jun 27, 2014

Samson Lee suspended for five weeks for headbutt against South Africa

Samson Lee suspended for five weeks for headbutt against South Africa
36
Comments

Earlier this week Wales prop Samson Lee was suspended for five weeks for a headbutt on Flip van der Merwe during the Springboks vs Wales second Test at the Mombela Stadium in Nelspruit. The incident occurred shortly before a Welsh try, but wasn’t looked at.

Lee and lock Van Der Merwe came into contact at the bottom of a ruck just before Wales’ Ken Owens try. If you watch the clip you can see it happen after the lineout, in front of referee Steve Walsh but as he later testified to, he didn’t see it happen.

Springbok captain Victor Matfield brought the incident to the attention of Walsh after Owens went over for the try, but the referee outright rejected his claims, and opted not to take a look at the foul play, instead focussing on the try, which was awarded after multiple replays.

Van der Merwe left the field shortly afterwards to have a cut below his left eyebrow attended to.

Following the match Lee was cited for striking an opponent with the head, contrary to Law 10.4(a), and faced a disciplinary hearing where he was found guilty of the offence. A mid-range sanction was reduced by five weeks due to mitagating factors such as clean record, admission and remorse.

Lee explained that he didn’t remember the incident, but later said that he was trying to clear himself from being held by Van der Merwe, with coach Warren Gatland adding that his conduct was clearly a product of his frustration.

He is suspended up to and including 21 September 2014. You can view a copy of the hearing’s findings here, which goes through everything in detail.

36 Comments

  • drg
    11:14 AM 07/07/2014

    Aside from you dislike of forwards fanning out (which they've always done), I'll focus more on the point at hand - Misconduct! I personally believe the game has become softer in the violence aspect. Players are indeed bigger, stronger, heavier, so no doubt the game has become "harder" in the everyday collisions, but you replied to the Arwel Thomas video I posted, which showed a distinct lack of interest by the referee's and a different attitude by the commentators. So I think the levels of misconduct have changed, where before stamping on someones head might have been a good decision, now you're likely to get strung up as a result of a camera seeing you do it. That being said, there is still going to be some incidents, take Andy Hazells outburst last year? Early this year?

    Reply
  • larry
    7:19 PM 05/07/2014

    Compare what rucks used to look like to what they look like now. Defending forwards fan out clogging up the mid-field like it's rugby league. A few token forwards stay in the so-called ruck just in case there's a close-to-the-ruck break off the ball coming out (which there usually is, for another two or three yards of running and then going to ground and another so-called ruck). There's still contact, but it's a different sort of contact in the game the last decade plus. Just the fact that players are generally bigger and more fit means harder contact overall. But lets face it, with all the cameras on first class and upper level matches, misconduct, whether blatant, or, as in this case, rather minor, are going to be seen sooner or later. I don't know that that means any less misconduct than before.

    Reply
  • drg
    12:13 AM 05/07/2014

    I get where you're coming from, but surely in our game this instance is very low on the headbutt incidents. I'd say rugby is trying to avoid incidents like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOivzoRc0I8 (not rugby) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-3UbAPs5As (different code) And ofcourse the dreaded Ansbro v Strokosch incident... ..any jokes aside, I find this is not exactly a 'big deal' I suppose it is easier for the officials to treat a headbutt as a headbutt... but remember that age old video of the Tom James headbutt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rJrZdhtJQ4 Is THAT really a headbutt? or is there somewhere in the laws that can provide referee's with the ability to use their heads and also Nigel Owens sound clips, for instance "This is not soccer" "you're both acting very immature" etc etc

    Reply
  • 2:28 AM 03/07/2014

    No head butts either

    Reply
  • 2:27 AM 03/07/2014

    Name me a sport, besides pro wrestling, where head butts ares an acceptable part of argy bargy

    Reply
  • browner
    10:14 AM 02/07/2014

    There already is a code for you really really tough guys, cage fighting ! Problem is, your opponent gets a chance to look you in the eye, not enjoyed by the cheap shot cowards that masquerade as rugby players.

    Reply
  • larry
    3:47 PM 01/07/2014

    The Arwel Thomas incident was a classic. I have a tape of that game. That kind of "policing" used to be quite common in rugby going back into the 90's. Heck, if you want to see some real violence, check the 4th test of the 1971 Lions tour in New Zealand. Nowadays Jas Muller would get a year's ban for what he did to Gordon Brown in that game!

    Reply
  • larry
    3:41 PM 01/07/2014

    I hear you. Big Brother is watching on the field. Any sort of misconduct and it's like zero tolerance. Sure, I don't mind the off the ball stuff being caught and handled after or during the match by administrators or referees, but the so-called misconduct during play on the ball, well, it's just a really fine line drawn now, isn't it? And has this strict interpretation of dangerous play/misconduct meant there's any less of it? It's rugby, a contact sport. It lends itself to guys getting a bit out of control at times to do things they shouldn't on the field. It's going to happen, unless the game is changed into touch rugby. This player certainly doesn't deserve a suspension. Maybe a yellow card and a reversal of the try was all that was needed, and I'm not sure it was such a blatant head butt that it even deserved that!

    Reply
  • 4:14 PM 30/06/2014

    When asked by the Judicial Officer whether he (Lee) had ever been sent off before, he replied that he couldn't remember !!

    Reply
  • 4:14 PM 30/06/2014

    When asked by the Judicial Officer whether he (Lee) had ever been sent off before, he replied that he couldn't remember !!

    Reply
  • drg
    12:29 PM 30/06/2014

    Well it's not like they weren't tussling or anything, looks to me like Van Der Merwe had Lee in a sort of headlock/round the neck...Both were in a position to defend themselves, it's just harder to defend against a headbutt...

    Reply
  • 10:59 PM 29/06/2014

    The only other comparison that comes to mind is that this was Samson Lee's debut, and Arwel Thomas' final Test was against South Africa in 2000, and was refereed by, yes,.... SR Walsh.

    Reply
  • 10:33 PM 29/06/2014

    In the Arwel Thomas incident, the guy, Carbonneau whose 'dive' would grace any FIFA World Cup, had the opportunity to defend himself. In the Samson Lee incident, Van der Merwe could not defend himself. I've no wish to defend or impugn either player, but an attack on a player who cannot defend himself has to be treated as more serious.

    Reply
  • drg
    12:55 PM 29/06/2014

    ...Not too bothered about the outcome of the game, but well done to France. The actual quote is "We can't condone a punch on the International field, can we John?" in which 'John' agreed too.. so it wasn't quite "has no place in our sport" as you've stated. I think that is also more of a case of "we can't be SEEN to condone," which is rightly so, however being seen to condone something and quietly condoning are too different things. Anyway, as for the last bit - how is what Arwel did (flooring someone) handbags, compared to what Samson Lee did? I suppose it is easier for the officials to view all instances as the same, but this was a nothing event.

    Reply
  • 12:41 PM 29/06/2014

    Love the way the co-commentator backtracks from his original 'no messing Arwel, put it straight back on his jaw, well done' comment to agreeing that punching 'has no place in our sport'. France had the last laugh with the winning try (and Grand Slam) coming off a botched drop-goal attempt. This is pure 'handbags' and Peter Marshall treated it as such. No comparison to headbutting someone's unprotected face.

    Reply
  • drg
    5:47 PM 28/06/2014

    Personally thought Youngs was giving...well, not quite as good as he got, but not exactly being friendly... Anyway, found this clip showing an old incident, I've never seen it before but I enjoyed it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJbUkOOvhoE

    Reply
  • drg
    11:52 AM 28/06/2014

    Hahaha, those are some interesting videos... not too sure about the shorts they're all wearing. Felt sorry for all the camera crew/photographers when the beer cans were flying..

    Reply
  • drg
    2:22 AM 28/06/2014

    One of the most sensible posts you've made since joining up!

    Reply
  • drg
    2:21 AM 28/06/2014

    Well... there isn't really 'anything' to see. But the pathetic non event that occurred starts at 0:43 (in the replay) Pause it then (0:43) and look in the centre of the screen - Just to the right of Steve Walsh is a South African shirt Number 4 - Play through to about 0:45 and you'll suddenly see a Welsh head appear going 'up' then back down, and the back down is where the 'contact' occurs I guess...

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    11:14 PM 27/06/2014

    That could be fun, marchers show up with placards of rugby players done an injustice... Every saffa on Facebook would show up, so would every Frenchman within 100 miles of Toulouse , and all of Uruguay if we tell them one their guys once got banned for biting.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    11:05 PM 27/06/2014

    It's Francois Louw he's trying to wind up, as he played a season with Gavin Henson probably gotten used to this sort of douche behavior. Anyhow, he cost wales this match in the end, clearly couldn't have happened to a more deserving bloke.

    Reply
  • dirtylittlescrumbag
    10:43 PM 27/06/2014

    Nothing to see here.... RIP rugby

    Reply
  • stroudos
    10:01 PM 27/06/2014

    Any idea why the iPhone autocorrects Saffa to Staffa? What on earth is a Staffa?

    Reply
  • stroudos
    9:59 PM 27/06/2014

    Ha! I didn't even notice that! What a bell end. It's one thing being a wind-up merchant, but he doesn't even have that effect - the Staffa just turns round and ignores him, probably thinking "what a bell end".

    Reply
  • stroudos
    9:47 PM 27/06/2014

    Exactly. You put it much better than I did. I didn't really mean to call him a cynical cheat - got a bit carried away!

    Reply
  • drg
    5:22 PM 27/06/2014

    Then his classy knocking the ball out the Saffas grip and patting him... what a punchable character..

    Reply
  • ando
    5:19 PM 27/06/2014

    That is pretty pissweak

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    4:19 PM 27/06/2014

    To be fair to Flip, he's kind of pinned at the bottom of a ruck, not sure what if anything he did that was unusual in that situation. As I said, this seemed like garden-variety wrestling you see in a ruck. For me, he butts him while wrestling, it's not really like he tried to butt him. Very harsh punishment as a result I think

    Reply
  • stroudos
    2:40 PM 27/06/2014

    I agree with you. Van der Merwe seem to be holding him down, both his hands are busy, so simply tries to free himself using his head. OK, you can't go round headbutting people but this incident is really a result of cynical cheating by the SA player.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    2:37 PM 27/06/2014

    Best bit about this clip is the very camp celebratory dance Liam Williams does at 0:30.....

    Reply
  • larry
    2:04 PM 27/06/2014

    There's just too many cameras looking to get away with stuff like that anymore in first class/international rugby. Regarding the try scored, Walsh immediately calls for the TMOS. Wow, how the game has changed, because it looked pretty straightforward that a try was scored.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    12:57 PM 27/06/2014

    No arguments that headbutting should be harshly punished, but I have some sympathy for Samson Lee here. The butt as such seemed to be almost incidental. He's wrestling with Flip, it looks to me like a standard argy-bargy in a ruck/maul situation, and I can't see clearly from this footage where he deliberately aims a butt at Flip. His head does make contact, but is it really a butt? I guess it was, but it's not one of the most obvious ones in history. I'm not surprised Walsh didn't see it, but I guess the message is that in test matches, there's very little you can get away with.

    Reply
  • 12:38 PM 27/06/2014

    Being banned for 5 weeks will not be something Lee would have wanted from his debut. Hopefully this will remind him of the need for discipline on the pitch. If you want to hurt your opponent, beat him on the scoreboard. He was somewhat fortunate that it wasn't seen and given ten minutes to ponder the loss of the subsequent try and, like his club mate Williams later, the wording of his apology to his team mates. 'Frustration' is a natural part of every encounter in sport, and should not be used as an excuse to toss away your team's efforts so that you feel better. Lee could turn out to be a top class international prop, if he can use his head (legally).

    Reply
  • drg
    11:12 AM 27/06/2014

    I was looking forward to this clip as I had read about the incident and subsequent ban, but I had not seen it... I'll admit right now, that after 5 replays of that last clip I nearly gave up looking. The 6th replay I just saw it - ok, RD normally has 'better' clips of incidents, but that 'incident' was truly pathetic. A ban, I suppose seems fair - http://www.rugbydump.com/2012/09/2744/eben-etzebeth-banned-for-attempted-headbutt-on-nathan-sharpe Etzebeth got a ban for his effort and this looks much the same. Although this got 5 weeks, Etzebeths got 2 weeks. Pretty sad...

    Reply
  • gazza
    10:46 AM 27/06/2014

    Enough to render the try illegal. As was the blatant knock on when grounding it. Steve Walsh had a mare - allowing Wales all the momentum in the first 25. Boks were awful but this game should never have been close. Fortunately normal service resumed when it came down to the result.

    Reply
  • welshosprey
    10:33 AM 27/06/2014

    Truly bone-crushing force on that headbutt

    Reply


Great Tries

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

View All

See It To Believe It

View All

Funnies

View All

Amateur

View All

Player Features

View All
Samson Lee suspended for five weeks for headbutt against South Africa | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos