Stormers centre Ruhan Nel has not been suspended for his high tackle on Connacht’s Conor Fitzgerald.
The midfielder was handed one of two yellow cards shown to the Stormers in a 19-17 loss in Galway as referee Ben Blain determined his hit on Fitzgerald was dangerous because it made head contact, though it was mitigated by Fitzgerald’s “drop in height”.
Irish citing commissioner Ed Kenny disagreed with Blain stating in his report that there was “no sudden/significant drop in height” from Fitzgerald, and Nel was subsequently cited and appeared before a United Rugby Championship disciplinary panel on Friday.
However, in yet another twist to this saga, the disciplinary panel then agreed with the on-pitch match officials that the tackle “did not meet the threshold of a red card”.
“The Panel reviewed the alleged act of foul play against his opponent, Conor Fitzgerald (No 10) for Connacht, and found that there was head contact as a result of foul play,” said a statement.
“Applying the World Rugby Head Contact Process, the Panel determined that there was a high degree of danger in the Player’s actions due to the speed and force of the collision.
“The Panel also considered the mitigating factors which were: the Player demonstrated a good level of control, both players dropped in height and that Nel turned his head away from the tackle in an attempt to avoid head-on-head contact.
“The on-field decision of the Match Officials team that, following mitigation, the incident did not meet the threshold of a red card was deemed correct by the Panel. Therefore, the Citing Complaint was not upheld and the Player is free to continue playing.”