Duty Judicial Officer: Adam Casselden
Player: Adriaan Strauss
Date of Incident: 24 May 2014
Nature of Offence: Law 10.4 (j) 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.
Elapsed time in match when incident occurred: 23rd minute
The SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Adam Casselden has accepted a guilty plea from Adriaan Strauss of the Cheetahs for contravening Law 10.4 (j) Lifting Tackle, after he was cited during a Super Rugby match at the weekend.
Strauss has been suspended from all forms of the game for three weeks up to and including 21 June 2014.
The incident occurred in the 23rd minute of the match between the Stormers and Cheetahs at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday 24 May 2014.
SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Adam Casselden assessed the case.
In his finding, Mr Casselden ruled the following:
After initially reviewing the video footage and Citing Commissioner's report, I heard submissions from the player's representatives, including his counsel Mr Stephan Weyers, and obtained their views of the incident. I then proceeded by establishing that the player accepted a breach for the cited offence and then identified the various factors involved in the incident.
I considered the incident had an entry point in the low end range which starts at a four week suspension for lifting tackles. I then added two weeks as a deterrent to send a further message that this type of tackle cannot be tolerated in the game due to the risk it poses to players. I also considered the player's upcoming schedule of games as required under the IRB regulations. The Cheetahs have a bye according to this week's Super Rugby schedule and I have not seen any evidence that satisfies me that the player was scheduled to play rugby. This is followed by four South African Test matches scheduled to occur in the June international window.
The player has consistently been a part of the Springbok match-day squad in recent seasons with 12 Tests to his name in 2013 as either the starting or reserve hooker and is named in the squad named for the June window. For this reason I consider the upcoming matches for South Africa against the World XV, Wales and Scotland as part of his upcoming schedule.
Factors considered in mitigation included the player's excellent record extending over 33 Test matches for South Africa and over 100 Super Rugby matches, his good character and the player's early admission of guilt for the tackle and remorse shown for the incident, I reduced the six week suspension to three weeks. Accordingly, the player is suspended from all forms of rugby up to and including Saturday 21 June 2014 which incorporates his next three scheduled matches.
All SANZAR disciplinary matters are in the first instance referred to a Duty Judicial Officer hearing 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 DJO.