Steyn off the hook

Frans Steyn's red card has been rescinded after a Sanzar judicial hearing found him not guilty of executing a tip-tackle on Aaron Cruden.

Steyn received a red card during the first half of the Shark's 12-11 victory over the Chiefs at Kings Park for a dangerous tackle on Cruden. However, after further reviewing the evidence, Sanzar duty judicial officer Jannie Lubbe SC accepted that there were extenuating circumstances involved in the tackle, and has decided against further sanction.

'After careful consideration of video evidence, including additional video evidence and still frames submitted by the legal representative of Francois Steyn, Gerrie Swart, as well as the oral explanation of Steyn, it was concluded that Steyn did not act in breach of Law 10.4 (j),' said Lubbe.

'It was also found that two other Sharks players were involved in the tackle and that one of the players, Cobus Reinach, played a significant part in what appeared to be a serious and dangerous tackle.

'A detailed analysis of the execution of the tackle by Steyn clearly showed that he executed a perfectly legitimate tackle on Cruden, but that the intervention of his teammates applying additional and external forces to the dynamic tackle situation resulted in what the referee deemed to be a breach of Law 10.4 (j).

'This decision is not meant to be critical of the match officials who had to take and make their decision on the field of play without the benefit I had of additional video material and submissions by legal counsel.

'The referee and his assistant on the available evidence at their disposal came to the conclusion that Cruden got lifted in the tackle by Steyn and made contact with the ground with his head first.

'The video material before me clearly shows that Cruden made contact with the ground first with his right hand and upper arm, followed by shoulder and back. The momentum of the tackle then caused him to roll so that his head and neck made contact with the ground.

'As a result of this finding, the red card will be expunged from the player's record.'

Steyn will now be available for the Sharks' next home match against the Force this weekend, and will be in contention to take over the captaincy in the absence of Bismarck du Plessis.

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