Sale forward Dan du Preez has been banned for three weeks for reckless play after he was cited following a ruck near the end of last weekend’s Gallagher Premiership win at Gloucester. The South African appeared before an online disciplinary panel having been called to account for making contacted with Gloucester’s Chris Harris during Sale’s victory at Kingsholm.
Du Preez was cited for striking with shoulder, contrary to World Rugby law 9.12, or in the alternate reckless or dangerous play, contrary to World Rugby law 9.11. He accepted the alternate charge and was given a three-week suspension by the independent disciplinary panel comprising Gareth Graham (chair) with Martyn Wood and Guy Lovgreen.
He is free to play again January 26, meaning he will miss this Friday’s league game at home to home to Worcester and the following European matches against Edinburgh and Toulon.
Caretaker Sale boss Paul Deacon claimed at his media briefing on Tuesday priot to the midweek hearing that the du Preez incident had been blown out of proportion. “The Dan du Preez incident has been blown out of all proportion,” he said.
“The (Gloucester) player was stood up when Dan committed to the tackle, he has ended up probably two feet off the floor and Dan has dropped to two feet off the floor. These things happen on rugby fields. It’s not black and white. It wasn’t pre-meditated. It’s just a decision, he has committed to the tackle, tried to drop. It looks ugly but these things can happen.
"These things happen on rugby fields. It’s not black and white"
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 5, 2021
“We don’t want head injuries. I totally agree with that, but there is some element of danger when you take to the rugby field. That’s just the way the game works. Dan didn’t mean any harm to the lad [Harris]. He apologised, he texted him after the game to see if he was alright. I just saw it as an accident if you like.”
The ten-page short form written verdict from the hearing stated: “In advance of the hearing, the player (du Preez) accepted the alternative charge contrary to law 9.11. At the outset of the hearing, there was a discussion as to the basis upon which the player accepted the charge.
“It was said on his behalf that the player accepted he had committed a reckless act of foul play that passed the red card threshold. The player did not accept that he had struck the Gloucester player with his shoulder as he was attempting to carry out a legitimate tackle and was wrapping his right arm correctly. The player did not accept that he had made contact to the Gloucester player’s head or neck.”
In making their judgment, the panel added: “This was a reckless act of foul play where the Gloucester player was in a highly vulnerable position; there was a significant risk of injury.
“The panel did not find that there was contact to the head and/or neck such that the offence carries the mandatory mid-range entry point. However, weighing up all the circumstances of the case, the panel concluded that such was the dangerous nature of this incident that a mid-range entry point was appropriate.”
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now