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Sale's JP du Preez pays heavy price for striking with the elbow versus Harlequins

By Liam Heagney

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Sale won’t have South African JP du Preez available should they reach the Gallagher Premiership final on June 26 following his receipt of a three-match ban following his citing for striking with the elbow in last Friday’s win over Harlequins, an incident that left Hugh Tizard with a concussion. 

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An RFU statement said: “JP du Preez appeared before an online independent disciplinary panel on Tuesday. He was cited by independent citing commissioner Shaun Gallagher for striking with the elbow, contrary to World Rugby law 9.12. The incident took place in the 58th minute of the match.

“Du Preez accepted the charge and was given a three-week suspension by the independent disciplinary panel comprising Ian Unsworth (chair), with Becky Essex and Rob Vickerman. His free to play date will be determined by Sale’s confirmed fixture list.”

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In his evidence at the hearing, Sale forward du Preez gave his view of his collision with Tizard. The judgment stated: “The player addressed us. He said he received the ball and his first move was to make contact. 

“He is a tall man (2 metres 10cms in height), closed his eyes at the point of impact and didn’t know where he had made contact at the time. He said that his intention was to fend off his opponent. Tizard didn’t really drop his height to a significant extent. On his behalf it was suggested that Tizard’s tackle technique was not as it might have been – his head was on the wrong side and he was too high. 

“We accepted that interpretation. Tizard was not in a vulnerable position prior to this. Du Preez was very apologetic and expressed his remorse for the injury caused.” The judgment noted that du Preez provided a prompt apology and expressed his remorse and that Tizard was accepting of that apology and gracious in the manner in which he did so.

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It also noted that character evidence from Sale boss Alex Sanderson was glowing in relation to the player. “On his behalf, we were told that he was a highly respectful, polite and honest member of the squad. In Mr Sanderson’s view the player had no malice whatsoever about him and in his opinion would never intend to cause harm to an opponent.”

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Sale's JP du Preez pays heavy price for striking with the elbow versus Harlequins

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