Sanzar appeal uheld, Steyn banned for five weeks

Super Rugby organisers SANZAR appeal against Francois Steyn’s original not guilty finding has been succesful and the Sharks centre has now been banned for five weeks.

Earlier this month, on 23 March 2015, SANZAR Judicial Officer, Jannie Lubbe SC, found Francois Steyn not guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (j), which provides: Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player’s feet are still off the ground such that the player’s head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play.

A judicial hearing originally cleared Steyn and removed the red card from his record, but SANZAR were not happy with the verdict and appealed it.

An appeals committee chaired by Australian Terry Willis and including two lawyers, New Zealander Nigel Hampton and South African Robert Stetnzer, reversed the decision and found Steyn guilty.

The Appeals Committee unanimously upheld the appeal brought by SANZAR and found that Steyn breached Law 10.4 (j) and that the referee was correct to red card the player during the match between the Sharks and the Chiefs played at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday 21 March 2015.

The Committee determined that the relevant sanction was four matches. After taking into consideration the Sharks’ bye in Round 11, Steyn was suspended from all forms of the game up to and including 3 May 2015.

Steyn will miss home matches against the Crusaders and the Bulls and away games against the Lions and Highlanders.

The Springbok back was among three players who were sent off within the first half an hourof the kick-off in a match which was eventually won 12-11 by the Sharks.

Sharks captain Bismarck du Plessis was banned for four matches after kicking an opponent in the head.

Chiefs hooker Hikawera Elliott got a one-game suspension after shoulder charging an opponent.

Appeal Hearing Details: 31 March 2015 @ 5pm AEDT, 7pm NZDT, 8am SAST via videoconference
Appeals Committee: Terry Willis (Chairman, Australia), Nigel Hampton QC (New Zealand), Robert Stelzner SC (South Africa)
Player: Francois Steyn
Team: Sharks
Position: Centre
Date of Original Judicial Hearing: 25 March 2015

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