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Watch: du Plessis sparks controversy after alleged strike

By Rugby365
(Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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There was a nasty aftermath to the Bulls versus Western Province Currie Cup round eight match at Loftus Versfeld on Wednesday, Bismarck du Plessis finding himself criticised for a second-half incident involving visiting lock Ben-Jason Dixon. The World Cup-winning Springbok hooker was returning from a three-match suspension following his URC red card against Munster on March 12.

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The leniency of that du Plessis suspension courted controversy and his latest behaviour has similarly caused friction in the aftermath of a match that the Bulls won 45-34 to go back on top of the Currie Cup table.    

Both Western Province coach Jerome Paarwater and captain Nama Xaba were left fuming about the incident that was looked at by referee Griffin Colby and TMO Marius van der Westhuizen. They found no clear evidence and no further action was taken. This did not stop the Province coach and captain from insisting that the du Plessis incident should be revisited.

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Western Province coach Jerome Paarwater and captain Nama Xaba speak out about the Bismarck du Plessis strike
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Western Province coach Jerome Paarwater and captain Nama Xaba speak out about the Bismarck du Plessis strike

He added that he hopes they can find an angle on the du Plessis incident, so they can follow it up with a citing. The WP captain was equally vocal about du Plessis. “It was disappointing,” Xaba said about the inability of the TMO to find an angle with a clear view of what happened.

“It’s outrageous that they didn’t have an angle on it. I was right next to it and I saw a clear strike to the face of our lock, Ben-Jason. It is very disappointing. In the context of the game, in the second half, they had scored a try. It could have been a potential red card or a yellow card.

“There is no place for that in the game. I am disappointed that there wasn’t an angle. They did flag it initially, but I don’t know – in terms of the internal process – what went on. I tried my best to go up to the TMO and there just wasn’t an angle on it.” Xaba insisted there was a “clear strike to the face” and said Dixon even has a bruise to his right eye.

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In contrast, three WP players were issued with yellow cards in a spiteful game – centre Cornel Smit (in the 23rd minute for repeated infringements), replacement flank Jarrod Taylor (on the hour mark for sliding with the knee into the back of a prone opponent on the ground after a try had been scored) and the skipper Xaba (78th minute for cynically collapsing a maul).

Paarwater acknowledged that he did not send Taylor back on after his ten-minute sin-binning expired following the WP flanker’s decision to drive with his knees into an opponent on the ground after a try had been scored. “That was a bad discipline call,” the coach said of Taylor’s behaviour. “If we make a mistake, we get a yellow card. There are no warnings, nothing. I am not going to blame my guys for their discipline, it is up to the referee to give a yellow card.”

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