South Africa’s Under-20 side have not been very impressive at this year’s U20 World Championship, culminating in a 39-17 loss to England in the semi finals earlier this week. To make things worse, captain Jeremy Ward has now been banned for an ugly looking challenge.
Ward received a yellow card for the dangerous tackle on England fullback Max Malins early on in Monday’s clash, and had to appear before a disciplinary committee on Wednesday evening.
The independent judicial officer, Mike Hamlin, ruled that the act of foul play was a breach of Law 10.4(i) (tackling a player in the air) and imposed a low-end entry point sanction of three weeks.
However, the sanction was mitigated to take into account various factors including the player’s exemplary disciplinary record, and was reduced to two weeks. The suspension will remain in place until midnight on 3 July, 2016.
Despite not making it to the final, South Africa will play in the bronze medal (third place) playoff match against Argentina on Saturday. With the suspension in place, Ward will miss the match.
The way that Malins landed looked horrific, but Ward appeared to reach out instinctively more than anything else. He realised it straight away, and he himself will probably be okay with a two week suspension, as on another day a different referee might have shown him red.