‘Law must be applied correctly’

Three former Springboks on whether the law that prevents players being tackled in the air needs to change.

Joel Stransky (former Bok flyhalf)

‘I think the law is fine as is because, most importantly, it takes into account the safety of all the players involved. Honestly, the only thing I would change is the sanction for the incident. We’ve seen inconsistency in the sanctioning, with players receiving different lengths of suspension, and different cards even, for very similar offences. There just needs to be consistency in the approach in that regard. If there is intent to do bodily harm the sanction needs to be a lot harsher. However, if there’s no intent to do bodily harm, but you still end up putting the opposition player at risk, then it should still be a red card because you’ve made a bad decision.’

Pieter Hendriks (former Bok wing)

‘I don’t think the law should change. I think the referees should apply the law correctly. The player waiting to receive the ball and the player from the team who put the kick up in the air should have equal rights to compete for the ball, regardless if the one player jumps earlier or later. The law should not favour the player waiting to receive the kick. If my intent is to go for the ball, whether I jump or not, I should have equal rights to compete.’

Corné Krige (former Bok flank)

‘The law is correct, if the player is in the air you cannot touch him; it’s the interpretation and implementation of the law that needs to be better. What referees and TMOs should do is review the footage of the incident and determine what the intent is of the player coming in second. If the intention is there to tackle the player in the air and harm him, then a red card is definitely the right decision. There was no intent, in my mind, from Leolin Zas to injure Bernard Foley. He genuinely wanted to contest for the ball, the only difference was that his foot slipped. That’s the reason you have TMOs, so he can he review the incident in slow-motion and make the right decision, but all he did was concur with everything the referee said and that’s not what he’s there for. He’s there to voice an opinion and to help the referee on the field make the right decision.’

Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix