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Sam Cane banned for Rugby World Cup final tackle

By Ian Cameron
New Zealand's openside flanker and captain Sam Cane walks on the field with his silver medal after South Africa won the France 2023 Rugby World Cup Final match between New Zealand and South Africa at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, on the outskirts of Paris, on October 28, 2023. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP) (Photo by ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images)

New Zealand captain Sam Cane has been banned by a disciplinary committee for his dangerous Rugby World Cup final tackle on South African centre Jessie Kriel.


Cane was yellow carded and then red carded on ‘Bunker’ review after tackling the Springboks centre high, contrary to law 9.13 (dangerous tackling) – in the All Blacks‘ 12-11 defeat at the Stade de France on October 28th.

It was the first ever red card handed out in a Men’s Rugby World Cup final.

Cane – who spoke of having to live with the incident for the rest of his life – recently announced he will be taking a sabbatical with Japanese club Suntory Sun Goliath. He will miss next year’s Super Rugby season as a result.

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The 31-year-old appeared at the hearing over a zoom call today. The back row accepted a guilty plea in the case, accepting that he had committed an act of foul play but challenged the Foul Play Review Official’s decision that the act warranted a red card.

A World Rugby statement reads: “When applying World Rugby’s Head Contact Process there was no mitigation available to bring the degree of danger below the red card threshold. On that basis, and in considering the sanction, the independent committee applied World Rugby’s mandatory minimum mid-range entry point for foul play resulting in head contact (six matches). Taking all considerations into account, including the player’s exemplary disciplinary record, his early acknowledgement of foul play and his clear remorse, the independent Committee determined mitigation of three matches was appropriate.”

He will now miss Suntory’s first three Japan Rugby League One games against Toshiba, Panasonic and D-Rocks.

If Cane takes part in the World Rugby Coaching Intervention Programme, which he intends to, it will see the ban effectively go two games as he will substitute the final match of the sanction for a coaching intervention “aimed at modifying specific techniques and technical issues that contributed to the foul play subject to successful completion”.


The independent Disciplinary Committee was chaired by Adam Casselden SC (Australia), joined by former international player Becky Essex (England) and former international referee Donal Courtney (Ireland).



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timothy 255 days ago

One LAST comment gentlemen.
Reference to scrum safety -
Have the hooker bind around & UNDER his props - props drape over the hooker. I did hook for 30 out of 35 years.

timothy 255 days ago

I have seen ONE dangerous tackle - Pierre Hola ended
Al Charron's career.

Sumkunn Tsadmiova 257 days ago

More important is the fact that all you Southern Hemisphere paupers have to come up to the Northern Hemisphere to get fed. And the Northern Hemisphere has to stage these World Cups to make money to bail you out. Last 3 Wc’s (Eng/Jap/Fra) have only just replenished the empty coffers after that miserable 2011 NZ fiasco (NZ govt made good the loss but nothing over as profit). Now Oz will plunge RWC 2027 into another huge loss. Presumably their govt. will again pay off the loss but nothing over. So NH again has to put the books in the black afterwards. Useless…

Willie 257 days ago

Looking at AB dissipline, the most cards of the tournament, I think that we should also look at ourselves and our poor tackle technique. And we should apologise to the refs, They made the right calls as per the rules. Cane and Kolisi, both were reviewed and the results stayed the same. Cane red and Kolisi yellow. I do not agree with the rules, but it is what it is and we are complaining like Rassie did a couple of years ago.

Chris 257 days ago

They say South Africa dropped to world number four now. Ref whingers rankings that is 😂

Tanara 257 days ago

What a crock of shit

david 257 days ago

Totally agree with Timothy.
The whole game is really a “cold war” senerio, deception and deceit for passes, carries, rucks etc,etc. So inevitabley what was in my estimation a legitimate genuine error by Sam Cane who knows the rules AND sanctions should have at best been a yellow card. If you want a safe rugby then stop the existing game as we know it and go to TOUCH rugby, NO tackles, NO body contact.
Also stop scrums, necks have broken resulting in players paralysed from the next down, line outs stop those to.
Last of all, play to empty stadiums, it’s no longer a Spectator sport.🙏

timothy 257 days ago

The ball carrier knows where he is going ; he sets the pace ;
he can go High OR Low; left or right. The runner dictates the play. New tackle rules have forced the tackler into a position of immanent danger.
The ball carrier does have options to open up the game. Pass the ball OR kick it. Maybe look back into his forward support.
There is an old saying “Rugby is not for everybody “
Let's put the collars back on
the jersey and scrap all these
new tackle laws.

Bob Marler 257 days ago

All the overnight TMO and tackle experts emerging out of New Zealand should apply for jobs at world rugby.

God help us.

Couldn’t spot a knock-on to save their lives though.

Kara 257 days ago

Another example of how pathetic World Rugby is. Something that warranted no more than a penalty became red card and now 2 match suspension. The lunatics really are in charge of the asylum.

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