Promising Sharks fullback Aphelele Fassi has luckily avoided serious injury after being sent a full into a 360-degree aerial cartwheel after a dangerous challenge from Stormers wing Seabelo Senatla.
The pair came into contact during an aerial contest, with the Stormers wing recklessly charging into Fassi’s legs right after the fullback had lept into the air to take the catch.
Senatla didn’t appear to have his eye on the ball while charging into the Sharks’ fullback. The collision sent Fassi into a wild tailspin, flipping completely over to land on his back.
The 23-year-old, who was one of the breakout stars of the original Super Rugby season in 2020, narrowly avoided landing on his head or neck in what would have been catastrophic.
Irish analyst and coach Bernard Jackman shared the clip that has gone viral on Twitter and wrote ‘horrible incident and lucky there was no serious injury caused’.
— Bernard Jackman (@bernardjackman) May 1, 2021
Fans were shocked and left feeling sick that only luck avoided a serious injury for the Sharks fullback. One fan wrote ‘Mother of God, could easily have come down on his head’ while another described the incident as ‘inches away from being a tragedy’.
One Stormers fan, who described himself as a big fan of Senatla, said it was an ‘inexcusable’ act that deserved a ban after what could have ended Fassi’s career and worse.
Never understood how some professional wingers get it so wrong , if you keep your eyes on the ball all times and compete properly there no chance of tackling someone mid air ,appreciate there can be collisions but no compete is piss poor and a red card is criminal at that level
— Nathan Brown (@brownybiglip) May 2, 2021
Mother of God, could easily have come down on his head
— mick keane (@micksterk) May 1, 2021
Inches away from being a tragedy. Terrible
— Willie M (@flying_cabbage) May 1, 2021
That’s brutal….lucky , could have been serious damage done
— Jay (@leinsterJay) May 2, 2021
The fact that the offending player was back on the pitch 20 mins later is a joke. Not a fan of this 20 min red card at all.
— Finbar Dowling (@finbardowling) May 1, 2021
That deserved a red 100%. I have a theory though, leinster and Munster rugby fans haven't endured any controversial red cards this season. There's a very fine line between some of the tackles and "rugby incidents" that ive witnessed over the season. Punished only for some clubs.
— P Cuddy (@p_cuddy) May 1, 2021
That’s a game of inches. Between wheelchair and baking ok. God awful stuff
— The Jackdaw (@TheJackdaw4) May 1, 2021
Red all day. May not have been malicious, but could have been career-ending if Fassi had landed even slightly differently. This is why I'm not a fan of the 20 minute replacement rule. Players need to know the team will face serious repercussions if they do something this stupid.
— Belinda Glenn (@girlfrommarsza) May 2, 2021
It's reckless, it's dangerous, it's stupid, it smacks of situational unawareness…red card and a ban. Lifelong Stormers fan and big Senatla fan, but this is inexcusable. Could've ended Fassi's career on the spot. No man.
— Bernard Mostert (@the_bernster) May 2, 2021
Senatla was red-carded for the incident but a new red card law meant that he could be replaced after 20-minutes.
The introduction of red cards for high tackles has muddied the original purpose of the red card, which originally was a punishment for outright dangerous acts of foul and malicious play, whereas high tackles are dangerous but unintentional.
The new trial law has been brought in to seemingly avoid a contest becoming one-sided after receiving a red card as the number of punishable offences has risen with the directive to crack down on high tackles.
But under the new rules, a player caught performing a deliberate act of foul play such as stomping or eye-gouging could potentially be replaced after serving 20-minutes on the sideline.
Many believed Senatla’s act was so dangerous it was deserving of his side being put down to 14-men for the entire match, but the Stormers were able to eventually put 15 men back on the field.
The Sharks were able to win the contest 33-30 but had the Stormers been reduced to 14-men for the rest of the match the margin may have been a lot wider.
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