Earlier in the week we showed a clip of Butch James being yellow carded for a high tackle against the Bulls, and mentioned that just before that he was involved in a scuffle. We’ve now got a clip of that, including the bit the TMO didn’t see.
James and Western Force bound Bulls lock Wilhelm Steenkamp got in a tussle after the latter charged into a ruck using his head. James lashed out, then tugged on Steenkamp’s hair.
In what was an action packed few minutes, the Bulls almost scored a try after a neat kick through from Morne Steyn, as tiny referee Jason Japhta was smashed over by one of the Sharks players.
He called for the TMO to rule on the try, as well as to check for foul play after James asked for it.
Somehow the correct section of footage wasn’t provided for the Television Match Official, as can be seen when watching the video below, so Japhta had little to work with, other than telling the players to calm down, much to the frustration of James.
You can see the incident at the beginning of the video though, as well as at the end, slowed down.
Despite getting away with it on the day, Steenkamp was cited and later suspended for two weeks. He was found guilty of contravening Law 10.4(a) Striking another player with his head.
“Steenkamp made contact with the Sharks player with his head in an attempt to clear out the player from a collapsed maul,” said SANZAR judicial officer Mike Heron.
“I found from the video footage that the player led with his head and contacted the Sharks player in between the shoulder and the head. From the video footage I found that Steenkamp intended to lead with his head and make contact with the Sharks player and that he was reckless as to whether he would commit an act of foul play.
“I did not find that Steenkamp intended to injure the Sharks player nor did I find that his head struck the face of the Sharks player as alleged in the citing. I found that the action was in an intense and critical phase of play when the Sharks player was attempting to interfere with the Bulls possession.”
He will miss their game with the Stormers on Saturday evening, as well as their playoff game.
It was a chaotic few minutes, making an interesting clip, and there was something quite amusing about Japhta getting the verdict from the TMO while being treated. He soldiered on bravely.