Mokuena cleared of foul play

2009-10-08 00:00

GRIQUAS heaved a massive sigh of relief yesterday when their captain, loose forward Jonathan Mokuena, was cleared to play against the Sharks in their do-or-die Currie Cup clash in Kimberley on Saturday.

The 28-year-old flank and Springbok sevens player yesterday appeared before a SARU disciplinary committee following his third yellow card of the season, against the Blue Bulls in Pretoria at the weekend.

Mokuena was also sent to the cooler for 10 minutes in the first-round game against the Blue Bulls in Kimberley last month and then against Western Province at Newlands two weeks ago. The case was heard by judicial officer Jannie Lubbe, who viewed the video evidence on Mokuena’s sin-binning in all three matches and was handed the reports from the referees who officiated in the fixtures.

He cleared Mokuena of any further action as “the player was not involved in any foul play during all three yellow card offences”.

“On two of the occasions, the Griquas team was on general warnings by the match official,” he said.

Lubbe decided that because of this, and Mokuena’s unblemished record as a player, no further action will be taken.

Mokuena has represented South African in 29 sevens internationals and has played over 100 Currie Cup games and has yet to be found guilty of any citable offences during his rugby career.

Griquas, in fourth place but under serious threat from the Free Staters who play struggling Boland this weekend, will need to pick up a win, or two bonus points, to make sure of their place in the semi-finals of the Currie Cup.

And, while coach Dawie Theron was bemoaning the lack of depth in the Griqua squad at the end of a long season, his Sharks counterpart, John Plumtree, said it is also the strength of the Kimberley-based team.

“Griquas have been able to select consistently all season without the chopping and changing of past seasons and that has been a positive for them,” said Plumtree.

They know their strengths and weaknesses and that has worked for them.

“This game is do-or-die for them so they will be fired-up for us, no doubt of that.”

The teams will be named today, and while Griquas are unlikely to make many changes, if any, the Sharks are hoping to strengthen their squad by recalling Bok prop John Smit, flank Jean Deysel — who both face fitness tests this morning — and inside centre Riaan Swanepoel.

It is possible that Smit and Deysel could be eased back into action off the bench on Saturday, with Bok prop Jannie du Plessis and the strong young flank Michael Rhodes, who played impressively as a second-half replacement against the Lions last Saturday, starting the game.

Swanepoel, who has been sidelined for the Sharks’ last three games, has practised all week and his inclusion would provide Plumtree with some necessary go-forward in midfield.

Saturday’s match kicks off at 3 pm.

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