Sharks centre Jeremy Ward, who started in place of Springbok André Esterhuizen against the Bulls on Saturday, will not run out for the Sharks in their next five matches.
The SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee accepted a guilty plea from Sharks centre Jeremy Ward for contravening Law 9.18 and Ward has been suspended from all forms of the game for five weeks, up to and including Friday, April 19.
The Sharks have a bye this weekend and Ward, a former captain of the Junior Springboks, will miss the home matches against the Melbourne Rebels and Bulls, the following two weeks, the Lions match against Ellis Park and two home matches against the Jaguares and the Reds.
Ward will then be available for the Sharks tour to Australasia where they will play the Waratahs, the crusaders and the Chiefs.
The SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee accepted a guilty plea from Ward for contravening Law 9.18: A player must not lift an opponent off the ground and drop or drive that player so that their head and/or upper body make contact with the ground, after he was cited during the Sharks’ match against the Bulls in Pretoria.
The incident occurred in the 13th minute of the match between at Loftus Versfeld in Round Four of Super Rugby 2019.
The SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee of Adam Casselden SC (Chairman), Eroni Clarke and Stephen Hardy assessed the case.
In his finding, Casselden ruled the following: “Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including from the player and submissions from his legal representative, Marius Botha, the Foul Play Review Committee upheld the citing under Law 9.18.”
“With respect to sanction the Foul Play Review Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of 10 weeks due to World Rugby instructions that dictate any incident of foul play involving contact with the head must start at a mid-range level. The evidence demonstrated the victim player’s head made contact with the ground due to the player’s reckless actions. However, taking into account mitigating factors including the player’s age, relative inexperience, remorse, and the fact the player has pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity, the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension to five weeks.”
“The player is therefore suspended for 5 weeks, up to and including Friday 19 April 2019.”
All SANZAAR disciplinary matters are in the first instance referred to the Foul Play Review Committee to provide the option of expediting the judicial process.
For a matter to be dispensed with at this hearing, the person appearing must plead guilty and accept the penalty offered by the Foul Play Review Committee.