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Munster left smiling despite Alex Nankivell ban for URC semi-final red

By Josh Raisey
Alex Nankivell of Munster is shown a red card by referee Andrea Piardi during the United Rugby Championship semi-final match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in Limerick. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Alex Nankivell has been banned for three weeks for his red card in Munster’s United Rugby Championship semi-final loss to Glasgow Warriors last month.

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The 27-year-old was shown red by referee Andrea Piardi for a dangerous entry into a ruck on 74 minutes of the 17-10 loss to the eventual URC champions at Thomond Park.

After a hearing for the red card, the judicial officer determined that the incident met the threshold for a sending off, and warranted a six-week ban.

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Due to the player’s good disciplinary record, the ban was halved, meaning the Kiwi will miss pre-season fixtures against Bath and Gloucester, as well as the opening match of the URC season against Connacht.

However, should Nankivell complete the World Rugby Coaching Intervention Programme, the sanction will be reduced by one week, meaning he could return without missing any competitive rugby, which will be a boost for the province.

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A URC statement reads: “After an act of foul play by Munster player No.12 (Alex Nankivell), referee Andrea Piardi showed the player a red card in the 74th minute of the game under Law 9.20a – A player must not charge into a ruck or maul. Charging includes any contact made without binding onto another player in the ruck or maul.

“In the player’s responses to the judicial officer overseeing the disciplinary process (Advocate Sibonile Khoza), he had accepted that he had committed an act of foul play which warranted a red card.

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“Mr. Khoza found that the incident met the red card threshold, with entry of mid-range warranting six weeks. The player received three weeks (50%) mitigation due to his apology and good record which results in a three game suspension.”

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finn 5 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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