Sharks players’ hearings postponed

2009-04-20 00:00

TWO Sharks players, prop Jannie du Plessis and flank Keegan Daniel, will have to sweat it out until Thursday before they hear whether they have been suspended following incidents during Saturday’s 13-10 defeat by the Crusaders at King’s Park.

Match commissioner Andrew Prior cited Daniel for a dangerous tackle on Crusaders centre Tim Bateman in the 14th minute of the first half while tighthead prop Du Plessis has been called to face charges of striking All Black captain Richie McCaw, also in the first half.

The disciplinary hearing was set down for noon yesterday and Rudolf Straeuli, commercial manager of the Sharks, said last night that he had no idea why it was postponed.

“We were all ready, we had our legal team here and then we heard through the media of the postponement. We are still waiting to hear from SA Rugby’s Christo Ferreira what is going on and why we now have to wait until Thursday for the hearing.”

Both incidents were picked up by the match officials immediately after they took place. Touch judge (assistant referee) Craig Joubert immediately flagged for Daniel’s tackle and he and referee Mark Lawrence decided that the Sharks flank should be penalised and cautioned. The fracas between Du Plessis and McCaw took place directly in front of Lawrence.

The match commissioner (Prior) must decide, in citing a player, that — in his wisdom — an incident of illegal play was serious enough to warrant a red card or a sending-off and clearly the evidence of Joubert and Lawrence will be critical to the outcome of the hearings.

The Sharks, who have a bye this weekend, have been given a break this week but, for Du Plessis and Daniel, the days ahead will be anxious ones. Ironically, the Sharks were hoping to have a full-strength squad — with Ruan Pienaar back at flyhalf — for the rest of the tournament but they are now in danger of losing one of two players to suspension.

The Sharks return to action on May 2 when they face the Highlanders in Durban and they complete their round robin action with home games against the Waratahs (May 9) and the Bulls (May 16).

The Sharks are joint log-leaders with the Chiefs, but have played an additional game and they will need to win their remaining three games to at least hold on to second spot and host a semi-final.

Meanwhile they will be hoping that the Bulls can down the Chiefs at Loftus this weekend to again throw the race for top spot wide open.

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