Nel off the hook

Vodacom Blue Bulls centre JP Nel will play against Western Province on Saturday, having avoided suspension following three yellow cards.

Nel was subjected to a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday after picking up his third yellow card of the season against the Cheetahs at Loftus.

However, the committee found that only one of the three yellow cards was for foul play – a dangerous high tackle against the Valke.

The news will come as a big disappointment to WP coach Kobus van der Merwe, who earlier this week called for Nel to be suspended.

SA Rugby Union spokesperson Christo Ferreira explained the decision to Beeld newspaper.

“The referee in that match [Craig Joubert] conceded in his report that Nel had been shown a yellow card because he [the referee] wanted to establish, early in the Currie Cup competition, a standard of refereeing regarding illegal defence techniques.

“Nel’s second yellow card was in the match against Griquas after the team had been warned and he played the ball on the ground in the following ruck.

“The third yellow card was against the Cheetahs last Saturday when Nel was, according to the referee, guilty of misbehaviour. That was after both captains had been warned that no further pushing and pulling would be tolerated.

“Against this background the disciplinary committee found that no further action against Nel would be justified.”