Hearing clears Wiese, but he’s already sidelined for Boks vs All Blacks
Bok loose forward escapes further sanction for his dangerous ruck clean out
Springbok loose forward Jasper Wiese escaped further sanction for the dangerous ruck clean-out that saw him yellow-carded in the weekend's 30-17 defeat to Australia in Brisbane.
A Sanzaar judicial hearing on Tuesday ruled that the citing commissioner was incorrect in his assessment that Wiese's actions posed a high degree of danger for the Australian player.
The decision will come as cold comfort for the burly loose forward who was left out of the Springbok team for Saturday's 100th Test against the All Blacks in Townsville.
The Bok team announcement preceded his hearing.
“For reasons not in our control, it could only happen tonight [Tuesday]. So he was not up for selection,” explained Bok coach Jacques Nienaber.
The coach said citing cases are usually dealt with within a predetermined time frame but in this instance the hearing could not be held on Monday as was originally intended.
The knock-on effect was that the Boks could not include Wiese in their team for Saturday, as they would run the risk of then having to withdraw him had the panel felt further sanction was appropriate.
In the end they opted to include Kwagga Smith in the starting team with Franco Mostert dropping to the substitutes, while also doing away with the Bomb Squad in Wiese's absence on the bench. It meant the Boks had the scope to include three backs on the bench rather than two, in Herschel Jantjies, namesake Elton, and Frans Steyn.
Wiese, though, has to sit out despite the favourable ruling that partly contradicted the citing commissioner.
“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,” Sanzaar said in a statement.
“While 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].”
It would perhaps be useful if rugby reached some uniformity on what is deemed dangerous.
“The Australian player was completely uninjured and his statement suggested the contact looked more serious than it was,” the statement continued. “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.”