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Watch: Shocking aerial collision that sent Sharks fullback Fassi into a 360-cartwheel ends with red card for Stormers wing

By Sam Smith

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.

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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’.

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.



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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