Blues winger Rene Ranger has been banned for two weeks for a dangerous tackle on Bulls No 11 Bjorn Basson.
The Sanzar judicial officer Mike Heron has accepted a guilty plea from Ranger for contravening Law 10.4 (e) dangerous tackling. Ranger was cited after he made late and dangerous contact with Basson in the 79th minute of the match between the Bulls and Blues last Saturday.
After reviewing footage of the incident, Heron decided that a two-week ban would be sufficient.
‘[The footage] shows Rene Ranger diving towards the other player, who was also diving to score the try, and ultimately hitting the player with his shoulder on the back of the player. At that point, the tackle did not involve his arms and was late. A careful review of at least one angle shows that Ranger initially was attempting to use his arms and appeared to launch towards the other player while that other player was in the air.
‘In my view, Ranger was initially attempting to tackle the Bulls No 11 but had to pull out as the Bulls player was too close to the ground. The result was that Ranger’s arms were not used in the tackle. In my view the tackle was reckless, and late (but this was a dynamic and very fast moving situation).
‘I accept Ranger’s account that he was attempting a legitimate tackle and had no intention of injuring the Bulls player. The referee and assistant referee’s report reflect a similar impression as the citing commissioner, although concentrate on the lack of attempt to use the arms and the use of the shoulder.
‘I note that the player was issued a yellow card and a white card was also issued. I have an informal medical report to the effect that the Bulls player has injured ligaments in his left shoulder and has bruised ribs on the left side (I am unable to determine whether these resulted from the tackle although that is a fair inference).
‘In all the circumstances, I find that the tackle was lower end in terms of the entry point for Law 10.4(e). That gives an entry point of two weeks. The player has one previous disciplinary matter of a similar nature. By coincidence it occurred at the same ground against the same team in 2009. He received a one week sanction. He does not, therefore, have the benefit of a completely clean record.
‘The effect on the Bulls player and the need for general deterrence provide some aggravation, albeit modest in the circumstances. The player was contrite and sensibly accepted that the tackle was dangerous. He and the coach put forward an explanation, which was supported by the footage,’ concluded Heron.