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Wiese citing dismissed: 'Situation wasn't a highly dangerous one'

By Liam Heagney

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The Springboks will likely be annoyed that cited back-rower Jasper Wiese has been cleared and is now available to face the All Blacks less than five hours after Jacques Nienaber named a Wiese-less matchday 23 for next Saturday’s Rugby Championship match in Townsville. Nienaber has questioned why there had been the delay of a day in the staging of the disciplinary hearing, which denied his player the opportunity to compete for selection.

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Uncertain about the availability of Wiese, Nienaber decided to change the configuration of the Springboks bench for the upcoming round five Championship match, excluding the back-rower and including an extra sub back. 

It means the South Africans will go into their 100th meeting with the All Blacks with a bomb squad of just five forwards and three backs rather than the six/two split that was pivotal in their run to World Cup glory and Lions series success.   

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John Kirwan on the impact northern hemisphere rugby has had on the Springboks attack
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John Kirwan on the impact northern hemisphere rugby has had on the Springboks attack

During his Springboks team announcement media briefing, Nienaber has questioned why there was a delay in the staging of the Wiese hearing unlike what happened two weeks previously when All Blacks full-back Jordie Barrett was before the judiciary following his red card versus Australia. 

That hearing was held on a Monday, freeing Barrett to contest selection for the following weekend’s game versus Argentina. However, the delay of Wiese’s hearing until Tuesday meant Nienaber had to press ahead with team selection plans minus his sub back-rower.  

“I’m not 100 per cent sure why the timelines weren’t met (for the Springboks) and it was met when they had the same incident two weeks ago when Australia played against New Zealand. I’m sure Sanzaar will come back to us on that,” shrugged an aggrieved Nienaber who learned later on Tuesday night Australian time that Wiese’s citing was dismissed. 

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A post-hearing statement from Sanzaar read: “A judicial committee hearing has found Jasper Wiese of South Africa not guilty of contravening law 9.12 after he was cited after a Rugby Championship match at the weekend. No further sanction has been imposed on Wiese and he is free to play.

“In his finding, judicial committee chair Michael Heron ruled: Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including from the player, a medical report on the opposition player involved, and having considered the submissions from his legal representative, Attie Heyns, the judicial committee found that the player had not committed an act of foul play worthy of the red card threshold.

“The judicial committee reviewed the case in accordance with regulation 17.16.1 of World Rugby’s regulations and the World Rugby head contact process. The evidence and submissions on behalf of the player, together with surrounding circumstances, satisfied the committee that the citing commissioner was not correct to find there was a high degree of danger involved.

“Whilst the Australian player was vulnerable, the contact with the head was not intentional or highly reckless. Wiese was shown to be grabbing for the ball rather than targeting the head of the Australian player. The low force, modest speed, indirect contact and the turning motion used by Wiese, meant that the situation was not a highly dangerous one (when compared to the World Rugby examples). 

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“The Australian player was completely uninjured and his statement suggested the contact looked more serious than it was. There was no adverse reaction by any of the players to the conduct. The referee was in a very good position to see the actions of Wiese.

“For those reasons, the committee was satisfied that the referee (with the assistance of the TMO) was correct to award a yellow card in the circumstances. The committee reinforced that the citing commissioner was otherwise correct to find that this was foul play, and at least warranted a yellow card in the circumstances. Wiese is therefore free to play in the upcoming matches.”

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Wiese citing dismissed: 'Situation wasn't a highly dangerous one'

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