Basson not guilty and available to play

2013-05-28 00:00

BULLS wing Bjorn Basson was yesterday cleared of foul play after he was involved in a tip tackle on Sharks flyhalf Pat Lambie during Saturday night’s Super Rugby derby at King’s Park.

A Sanzar judicial hearing found Basson not guilty and he will be available for the Bulls game against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein this weekend.

Referee Jonathan Kaplan penalised and yellow-carded Basson after he lifted Lambie in a tackle four minutes into the second half of the game. He was later cited by the match commissioner, who believed it was a red-card offence.

The disciplinary hearing was held yesterday with judicial officer Adam Casselden, who heard the case, assisted by former professional player Mike Mika.

Casselden said that on the evidence of the player, and after watching video replays, he was not convinced that Basson deliberately breached the laws.

“I could not disregard the evidence of Basson, that he was trying to hold the tackled player [Lambie] up, but lost control when he lost his grip. The citing was not upheld,” he said.

Beaten 18-16 by the Bulls, the Sharks have their second bye this weekend before the June international window. They will return to action against the Auckland Blues in Durban on June 29, before travelling to Pretoria for their return game against the Bulls on July 6. Their final round-robin outing is a home game against the Kings on July 13.

Coach John Plumtree and the Sharks will be boosted by the return of a number of players from injury after the four-week break. They could, of course, suffer more losses during the three Saturdays of Test rugby.

“It will be good to have a break now,” said Plumtree, “but we will come back determined to finish off the season positively.

“We need to get a team together that will play together for a few weeks rather than being forced into making changes for every match.”

Among those who are now fit for selection are Springboks Bismarck du Plessis and Butch James, while, according to the most recent Sharks medical report, centre Tim Whitehead, fullback Louis Ludik and prop Allan Dell, and possibly centre Frans Steyn and scrumhalf Cobus Reinach, could also be available again after extended injury breaks.

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