Morne Steyn, the Bulls’ veteran flyhalf, has been suspended for the next three matches after receiving a three-week suspension for a red card in the United Rugby Championship (URC) match against the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, February 12th.
In the 11th minute of the South African derby, the 37-year-old pivot was sent off for a violent tackle on Sharks center and captain Lukhanyo Am.
The decision to sanction Steyn will mean that the experienced No 10 will not be part of the Bulls team that will travel to Italy where they will face Zebre Parma on Friday, 25 February.
A Disciplinary Committee met to consider the incident which was considered a contravention of Law 9.13 which states: “A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously. Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, tackling or attempting to tackle an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders”.
According to a statement released by the United Rugby Championship, the Disciplinary Panel of Jennifer Donovan (chairperson, Ireland), Rose Alice Murphy (Ireland) and Tony Wheat (Ireland) considered all the evidence available and concluded that the referee’s decision to issue the red card was correct and so upheld the red card.
The panel carefully considered the evidence and found that there was a high degree of danger, that the action was at speed with contact made to the neck and jaw area, with insufficient mitigation to reduce the level of sanction.
The panel determined that the entry point be mid-range which carried a suspension of six (6) weeks. [Steyn] did accept that he had committed an act of foul play but did not accept that it warranted a red card.
The panel considered the [Steyn’s] previous good record and admittance to a late and high tackle, and determined that it would reduce the sanction by three (3) weeks.
As a result, the Steyn has been banned for a period of three weeks and will return to play from Sunday, 13 March 2022.
The ban will include two games in the United Rugby Championship and one game in the Currie Cup.
United Rugby Championship: Zebre Parma v Bulls (Friday, 25 February)
Carling Currie Cup: Griquas v Bulls (Saturday, 5 March)
United Rugby Championship: Bulls v Munster (Saturday, 12 March)