Vodacom Bulls flyhalf Morne Steyn has been suspended for the next three matches after receiving a red card in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship match against the Sharks.
Steyn was sent off in the 11th minute of the URC round-12 fixture at Loftus Versfeld Stadium for a dangerous tackle on Sharks captain Lukhanyo Am.
The veteran flyhalf received a red card for a contravention of Law 9.13 – “A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously. Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, tackling or attempting to tackle an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders.”
The disciplinary panel of Jennifer Donovan (chair, Ireland), Rose Alice Murphy (Ireland) and Tony Wheat (Ireland) considered all the evidence available and concluded that the referee’s decision to issue the red card was correct and so upheld the red card.
The panel carefully considered the evidence and found that there was a high degree of danger, that the action was at speed with contact made to the neck-and-jaw area, with insufficient mitigation to reduce the level of sanction.
The panel determined that the entry point be mid-range, which carried a suspension of six weeks. Steyn did accept that he had committed an act of foul play but did not accept that it warranted a red card.
The panel considered the player’s previous good record and admittance to a late and high tackle, and determined that it would reduce the sanction by three weeks.
As a result, Steyn has been banned for a period of three weeks. This ban will include two games in the URC – including this week’s skirmish against Zebre and the much-anticipated showdown with Munster at Loftus on 12 March – and one game in the Currie Cup. He can return to play from Sunday, 13 March.
Matches scheduled during Steyn’s suspension:
URC: Zebre Parma vs Vodacom Bulls (25 February)
Currie Cup: Griquas vs Vodacom Bulls (5 March)
URC: Vodacom Bulls vs Munster (12 March)
Photo: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix