Van der Linde, Elsom both banned

2008-08-26 00:00

SPRINGBOK tighthead prop CJ van der Linde and influential Wallaby flank Rockey Elsom will both miss Saturday’s Tri-Nations Test match at Ellis Park.

Van der Linde has been handed a four-week ban following his weekend headlong dive into a ruck during the Test at King’s Park, while Australian Elsom, voted man of the match in Durban, has been suspended for a week after illegally and dangerously pulling down Bok lock Victor Matfield at a lineout.

Late yesterday, Elsom appealed against his suspension. His appeal will be heard by a Sanzar Judicial Panel in a telephone link-up tomorrow.

The disciplinary hearing for Van der Linde and Elsom was held in Durban on Monday, but the findings were only released yesterday.

Van der Linde was found guilty of dangerous play after he was cited by match commissioner Steve Hinds of New Zealand for striking Wallaby scrumhalf Sam Cordingley with his head in the eighth minute of the match.

Cordingley was not injured and the Sanzar disciplinary officer, Nick Davidson QC of New Zealand, accepted Van der Linde’s guilty plea of dangerous play. He was, however, cleared of deliberately striking an opponent with the head. The prop has been suspended from all rugby until September 22.

Van der Linde’s excellent disciplinary record counted in his favour, but Davidson said that the IRB’s concern about the danger of unlawful and dangerous clearing out on the fringes of tackles, rucks and mauls was “a counter-weight to any mitigation.”

Van der Linde was represented by South African Rugby Union legal officer Christo Ferreira, national teams manager Andy Marinos and his personal attorney Stephan Weyers.

Elsom was suspended for one week for unlawfully interfering with a player in a lineout after he was cited for tackling Matfield in the air in the second half.

Davidson said the judicial officer is entitled to review the reasons for a decision taken by match officials.

Touch judge Bryce Lawrence, in this case, had a clear view of the incident and assessed Elsom’s action as deserving no more than a penalty and he reported this to referee Lyndon Bray.

“A review of extensive video coverage showed Elsom in fact using two hands to pull down Matfield, rotating him sideways and off-balance. Any interference of this kind carries real danger and a sanction is required,” said Davidson in suspending suspended from all rugby until Monday, September 1.

He will therefore be available for the Tri-Nations decider against the All Blacks in Brisbane on September 13.

Matfield gave telephonic evidence that he suffered an injury in the incident, but completed the game without impediment.

Any injury appeared minor and did not influence the decision, said Davidson.

Elsom was represented by Australia coach Robbie Deans, team manager Phil Thompson and John Pammenter SC.

Bok coach Peter de Villiers has already added Sharks prop Jannie du Plessis to the squad in place of Van der Linde but, because of a string of injuries has delayed announcing his starting line-up until tomorrow.

Hooker Bismarck du Plessis, Matfield, wing Bryan Habana, prop Tendai Mtawarira and flyhalf Butch James are all nursing injuries and in doubt.

Wing JP Pietersen has already been ruled out because of a hamstring strain and has been replaced by the Sharks’ Odwa Ndungane.

Australia are also nursing a number of injuries and their most effective lineout forward, former South African Dan Vickerman, is already out and Nathan Sharpe has joined the squad.

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