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Red-carded van Rensburg is off to tackle school after his ban

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

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Sale midfielder Rohan Janse van Rensburg has been banned for three games following his red-carded tackle on Exeter’s Harvey Skinner in last Sunday’s 25-15 loss in Manchester. The South African was sent off by referee Craig Maxwell-Keys in the 53rd minute of the match for dangerous tackling contrary to World Rugby law 9.13.

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The player accepted the charge and was given a suspension by an independent disciplinary panel comprising James Dingemans with Mitch Read and Leon Lloyd. Van Rensburg is free to play again on October 25 after missing the upcoming Sale matches versus Gloucester, Harlequins and Leicester. 

However, van Rensburg could return a week earlier and be available to face the Tigers if he applies to World Rugby for a coaching intervention and satisfactorily completes this programme. The summary of the evidence given by van Rensburg at his hearing read: “The player stated that he had no intention to hit the Exeter player high, but he came forward at high speed to get up the pitch and make the tackle. 

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“He had not realised until the footage was shown on the pitch that he had made contact with the Exeter player’s head. He immediately apologised and he recognised that he needed to improve his tackling technique to avoid being in this situation in the future.”

The written judgment on the hearing added: “The player was intending to make the tackle, but not intending to make contact with the head. The player’s high position as he moved forward to make the tackle meant that there was a real risk of making contact with the head of the Exeter player.”

A mid-range six-week entry point was selected for sanction, with the ban eventually given to van Rensburg halved under mitigation. “There was contact between the right shoulder of the player with the Exeter player’s head. There was recklessness but no intention to make contact with the head. The Exeter player was removed from play but did not suffer a concussion. This was an act of foul play that resulted in contact with the head and therefore required at least a mid-range sanction pursuant to the note in RFU regulation 19. There were no features to make this top-end entry point.

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“The player sought to take advantage of the coaching intervention in an effort to improve the player’s tackling technique. It is apparent from the relevant match that the coaching intervention should assist both the player and reduce risks to those who he is tackling.”

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