Ackermann calls for 'red card rethink'
REACTION: Lions coach Johan Ackermann has called for a change to the laws on the issuing of reds cards in games.
His plea for a 'rethink' comes in the wake of hooker Robbie Coetzee's red card in their 54-10 thrashing of the Southern Kings in Johannesburg at the weekend.
Coetzee, who took exception to the constant niggling by Kings flank Chris Cloete, was shown a red card by referee Jaco Peyper in the 31st minute - after he lost control over his senses and struck his opponent in the head with his knee.
The Lions hooker appeared before a SANZAAR disciplinary hearing on Monday and was slapped with a five-week ban.
* Full explanation in SANZAAR statement below!
Ackermann said it was uncharacteristic of Coetzee to respond in such a manner to Cloete's niggling, adding that it should "serve as a warning" to other players to maintain their discipline.
Cloete, who himself appeared before a SANZAAR disciplinary hearing on Monday over an accumulation of yellow cards this season, was yellow-carded for two indiscretions of foul play in the same movement - lifting Lions captain Warren Whiteley beyond the horizontal and dumping him after the ball had gone and soon after driven into the head and neck area of the Lions hooker, who then retaliated.
It was not until the referee, Peyper, gave Cloete a lecture early in the second half, that the Kings loose forward's niggling stopped.
Cloete has already conceded 14 penalties this season and three of the Kings' nine yellow cards - which puts the Eastern Cape franchise at No.3 on the list of worst disciplined teams, behind the Reds (12 yellow cards) and Jaguares (10).
Ackermann said that while Coetzee must pay the price for his lack of composure, the issuing of reds cards should be looked at.
"I firmly believe there is enough time after a match for the whole process of reds cards, etcetera," Ackermann said.
"During the game maybe a yellow card is the solution," he said, adding: "Any red card in any game virtually takes the contest out of it.
"I feel, sometimes, they can say [let's] play with the yellow card - both teams with 15 players on the field [afterwards].
"If it was a serious offence, the guy will pay the price eventually.
"The people come out to watch a fair contest.
"Think about spear tackles. There is no intent, yet the player pays the [ultimate] price."
SANZAAR STATEMENT IN FULL:
The SANZAAR foul play review committee has accepted a guilty plea from Robbie Coetzee of the Lions for contravening Law 10.4(a): Striking with Knee, after he was red carded during a Super Rugby mat the weekend.
Coetzee has been suspended from all forms of the game for five weeks, up to and including July 1.
The incident occurred in the 31st minute of the match between the Lions and Kings played at Ellis Park, Johannesburg this past Sunday, May 28.
The SANZAAR foul play review committee of Nigel Hampton (Chairman), Stefan Terblanche and John Langford assessed the case.
In his finding, foul play review committee Chairman Nigel Hampton ruled the following:
"Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, as well as a statement from the player and submissions from his legal representative, Adrian Montzinger, the foul play review committee amended the charge to Law 10.4(a). The player admitted the amended charge."
"With respect to sanction the foul play review committee deemed the act of foul play, which involved an intentional strike with the player's knee to an opponent's head, merited a mid-range entry point of suspension for eight weeks. However, taking into account mitigating factors including the Player's apology to the opposing player, his remorse and his early guilty plea, the foul play review committee reduced the suspension to five weeks."
"The player is therefore suspended for five weeks, up to and including the Saturday 1 July 2017."
All SANZAAR disciplinary matters are in the first instance referred to the foul play review committee to provide the option of expediting the judicial process.
For a matter to be dispensed with at this hearing, the person appearing must plead guilty and accept the penalty offered by the foul play review committee.