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Hougaard out for a week

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Bulls, Original Content, Super Rugby on 4 Mar 2012 at 09:52
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

Bulls scrumhalf Francois Hougaard will miss next weekend’s encounter against the Blues at Loftus Versveld, after the new ultra-speedy SANZAR disciplinary process has found him guilty of a spear tackle on Rob Ebersohn.

Hougaard was shown a red card in the 62nd minute of yesterday’s Bloenfontein clash and the matter was immediately referred to SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Mike Heron for assessment. Hougaard submitted a guilty plea and the “extenuating circumstances” of the case, together with his good disciplinary record, saw Heron opt to hand out a suspension of only 1 week, far lower than is the norm in such cases.

Heron’s reasoning is outlined below:

“The footage showed Hougaard lifting the opposing player into the air and dropping him on to the ground. The Cheetahs number 13 fell backwards and twisted on to his right shoulder. He was not injured and continued unaffected. A subsequent report from the Cheetahs confirmed that (as did Mr Swart for the player). Hougaard immediately acknowledged his wrong. An unusual feature was the involvement of another Cheetahs player, initially supporting the tackled player and then not continuing to do so. It was submitted, and I accept, that this appears to have inadvertently contributed to Hougaard failing to realise that the player would drop to the ground. In my view this was a brief incident of dangerous play, which resulted in a breach of rule 10.4(j), without any intent to drop the player on to the ground. Accordingly, I find the entry point low end (three weeks). The player immediately accepted responsibility and pleaded guilty. He has no disciplinary record, is of good character and this is his first card of any type I am told. The circumstances of the tackle were unusual and there was no injury or lasting impact on the tackled player. In addition, Hougaard has the embarrassment of being sent from the field and the record that comes with that. In all the circumstances therefore I reduced the penalty to one weeks suspension. I emphasise that this was an unusual case and that it should not be regarded as setting any precedent in respect of future tackles of this sort.””


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