Not only did New Zealand’s Sam Cane become the first rugby player ever to receive a red card during a World Cup final, but he was also suspended for three matches. The suspension is reduced to two games subject to the successful completion of an intervention program.
Cane appeared virtually before an independent disciplinary committee on Monday in connection with a dangerous smash during the final against South Africa.
RNews reported earlier that Cane made contact with Jesse Kriel of South Africa’s head in the first half of the titanic duel at the Stade de France. A yellow card followed. This was later replaced with a red card.
Cane accepted responsibility before the disciplinary committee on Monday for having committed an act of foul play during the final. He did dispute the match officials’ decision that the smash justified a red card.
The committee, chaired by Australian barrister Adam Casselden, ultimately ruled that a reckless act of foul play had occurred in violation of Law 9.13 (dangerous upright position with tackle).
The disciplinary committee also ruled that head contact occurred and the degree of danger was high as there was direct and forceful contact between the player’s shoulder and the ball carrier’s head.
The disciplinary committee consequently applied World Rugby’s mandatory minimum mid-level entry point for foul play resulting in head contact – thus a six-match suspension.
It was eventually decided to reduce his punishment from a six game suspension to three due to Cane’s exemplary disciplinary record, his early admission of error and his genuine remorse.
The ban means the All Black captain – who announced last week that he is joining Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath – will miss the following matches: Suntory v Toshiba on November 18, Suntory v Panasonic on November 25 and Suntory v D-Rocks on December 2.
However, Cane intends to apply to take part in the World Rugby coaching intervention programme, which will mean he will only miss the first two games. The intervention program aims to modify specific techniques and technical issues that contributed to foul play.