Ex-Wales centre: Kolisi lucky to escape headbutt ban

Siya Kolisi (Gallo Images)
Siya Kolisi (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Former Wales centre Tom Shanklin says Springbok captain Siya Kolisi is lucky to lead the team out in Cardiff on Saturday.

Kolisi was earlier this week slapped with a citing commissioner warning from World Rugby after striking a Scotland player with his head in last Saturday's Test in Edinburgh.

The Springbok skipper made headlines after South Africa's 26-20 win when footage surfaced of an apparent headbutt on Scotland centre Peter Horne.

But World Rugby decided that the incident did not warrant a red card and cleared the flank for Saturday’s Test against Wales in Cardiff.

Shanklin, who spoke exclusively to Sport24 ahead of Saturday’s Test, says Kolisi should feel relieved that he can play this weekend.

“In terms of the video evidence, it looks bad as Kolisi shoots his head back. Whether or not he should have been shown a red card is now a moot point, but I think Kolisi is quite lucky to have escaped a ban and be eligible to play against Wales,” Shanklin said.

World Rugby said  mitigating factor in the judgment was the fact that Kolisi was held back on the ground by Horne.

“While I don’t condone Kolisi’s actions, as a former player I can tell you that there is nothing more infuriating than getting held into a ruck or getting pulled back when you are trying to chase the support runner,” Shanklin noted.

The 70-Test veteran added that he felt Bok fullback Willie le Roux was a tad unlucky for receiving a yellow card for what was deemed a deliberate knock down.

“Kolisi may have dodged a bullet, but in the same match I felt Willie le Roux was unlucky to get sin-binned because, for me, that was nowhere near a yellow card. The ball was in the air for a long time and he was actually trying to flip the ball up, so from that aspect the South Africans can feel hard done by...”

Shanklin added that “there are massive inconsistencies in the game at the moment because all the calls are subjective and everyone has a different opinion.”

He continued: “There are inconsistencies everywhere and that is what makes players, coaches and fans feel hard done by. One week a red card and ban can be dished out and the next week nothing is done about a dangerous incident. I think it’s a big turning point for rugby at the moment and everyone is after consistency.

“However, it’s so difficult because the game isn’t managed by robots but by referees and citing commissioners, who all have different opinions. Perhaps a solution is having a world citing commission and then branches outside of that. All of this needs to be done very quickly because players need to know whether or not they are available to play.

“The question is, how do you get consistency across the board in terms of refereeing and citing commissions? That must be one of the top three things on World Rugby’s to-do list because something has got to give.”

Saturday's Test is scheduled for 19:20 (SA time).



15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Nicky Smith

Substitutes: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Cory Hill, 20 Ellis Jenkins, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Dan Biggar, 23 Owen Watkin

South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 S’bu Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Eben Etzebeth, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Cheslin Kolbe

READ Tom Shanklin's full Q&A interview with Sport24

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