Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Eben Etzebeth in hot water after making contact with Greig Laidlaw's eyes

Lock Eben Etzebeth has been cited following the Springboks' 21-10 victory over Scotland in Edinburgh on Saturday. The IRB disciplinary hearing was due to take place today but we're still waiting for the outcome.

Etzebeth has played a pivotal role in not only the Bok lineout success, but their strong forward play in general. If suspended, his loss will be a major blow ahead of the England game at Twickenham.

He has been cited by independant citing commissioner Alan Mansell of England.

The citing arises after he is alledged to have made contact with the "eye of eye area" of Scotland number ten Greig Laidlaw in the second half of the Murrayfield Test.

If deemed to be guilty, Etzebeth will face a lengthy ban that would cause a major disruption to the Springbok forwards, as well as further tarnish his reputation. The 21 year-old was recenty suspended for what was ruled to be a 'head butt' on Nathan Sharpe.

He has been cited under Law 10.4(m): 'Acts contrary to good sportsmanship. A player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship in the playing enclosure.' The IRB's recommended sanction for eye-contact is a low entry point of 12 weeks, and a max of three years.

Coach Heyneke Meyer said that he couldn't comment on the incident as the case was still under way, but that they had heard mutterings about a citing before it was officially announced, so already had a legal team putting together their defence.

Below is a clip of the incident. It looks as though he pulled his hand away as soon as he realised where it was, but any contact with the eye will always going to get you in hot water.

On a positive note, the video starts with a great tackle.

*UPDATE: Etzebeth has been found not guilty and is free to play against England

Posted by Rugbydump at 5:49 pm | View Comments (53)

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 53 comments

Ted the slacker November 20, 2012 9:39 pm

I fear Etzebeth gets it again from the suits. As you say, even the most incidental contact with the eyes gets you in trouble.

But hard to see anything in the video which suggests this was deliberate; the most significant movement he makes is to take his hand away from Laidlaw's face, apparently as soon as he realised how close he was to his eyes.

And should be noted too that no-one made any complaint at the time, no-one needed any treatment, no-one said anything after after the match.

Not that I expect any of this to make any difference, if it's not a New Zealand player, you know to expect the worst.

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katman November 20, 2012 10:21 pm

Rubbish citing by the English commissioner ahead of the England test? Go figure.

This kind of nonsense tarnishes the lad's reputation for good, even if he's 100% innocent.

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nathan November 20, 2012 11:07 pm

what a muppet you are!!

It was the correct thing to cite as his hands were very close to his eyes. People do now get cited for making contact in the eye area. NOTE: Not gouging. It may not be on deliberate.

Players/Coaches/Fans need to understand the damage that can be done when fingers meet eyes. Just look at the bloke who's blinded from a hand off.

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Munster November 20, 2012 11:16 pm

Who's a muppet? Do you even play rugby?? Laidlaw's head was low coming into the tackle and any contact looked accidental. If it was deliberate then I would have no problem with the offending player receiving any length of ban but this was clearly unintentional. Accidents happen from time to time but that doesn't mean that somebody MUST be punished.

PS I'm not one to waste time leaving comments online but seeing your pathetic comment (which started with "what a muppet you are") I felt obliged!

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Pretzel November 22, 2012 4:29 am

@Munster, EE had Laidlaw in a headlock, it is extremely simple to look at that, combined with the fact that EE's hands were also on Laidlaw's face and assume that PERHAPS there was something intentional in there...

"Accidents happen from time to time but that doesn't mean that somebody MUST be punished. "

I totally agree... but who was punished in this instance? All I see is a rightful investigation which showed up nothing. Very good..Is it a problem that there is a "check" on these things?

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browner November 20, 2012 11:33 pm

You were Joking .... surely?
Hands / fingers round the face...when is this ever justified ?

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katman November 21, 2012 8:44 am

Not joking at all. There was clearly nothing in this, but this over-eagerness to cite does lasting damage to a player's reputation regardless of the outcome. It didn't take most people here long to dismiss it as nothing, so why could Mansell not apply his mind in he same way?

It's a maul and players scrap to secure the upper hand, grappling with each other. As soon as Etzebeth realises he's got the guy by the cheek (yes, the cheek, look again), he lets go.

The same weekend there were far worse incidents that went uncited - the Samoan shoulder charge clean-out on the Welsh flyhalf comes to mind - but now Etzebeth must carry another notch on his dirty play reputation for nothing. You can say what you like, but this stuff adds up.

And in future, if I intend to make a joke, I'll be sure to ad a :) just to clear up any possible confusion.

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Pretzel November 21, 2012 2:17 pm

Etzebeth is a hot head, he lost his cool against Nathan Sharpe, that is his "negative" reputation. In this incident all that has happened is that he has taken off a few notches off that bad reputation. The fact this has been highlighted has shown me that this "hot head" who had grip of a Scotsmans head/face actually realised what he was doing and moved his hands.. so perhaps he is not so much of a loose cannon afterall...

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TeamTom November 22, 2012 10:17 pm

I don't understand what your problem is, the point of the citing commission is to penalise if an offence has been made. In this case he did no wrong hence the reason why no ban!! This kids reputation is not tarnished because of the citing, how u play day in day out for your team and country determines your reputation

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Facepalm November 21, 2012 12:00 am

It's comments like this which really confuse me. Do people really think international rugby is one big conspiracy set up by the English to protect the English? If so they're doing a pretty terrible job.

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Owen November 20, 2012 10:45 pm

If Richie Rees is getting 12 weeks for this http://www.rugbydump.com/2011/01/1771/richie-rees-banned-for-12-weeks-after-contact-with-dylan-hartleys-eyes Etzebeth deserves something for what hes just done

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browner November 20, 2012 11:31 pm

Yep ... 12 weeks minimum .....IRB Ban face contact with fingers .... FULL STOP - when is it ever justified?

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katman November 21, 2012 8:47 am

Like adding FULL STOP makes it so. So you would have given him 12 weeks while the panel dismissed it? You're definitely in the right job.

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Benny November 20, 2012 11:05 pm

I thought the citing commissioner's job was to look at all the footage and decide if it's worth a citing. Clearly it wasn't. What extra evidence was presented to make the judiciary change their mind? Or is everyone paranoid after the RWC final about missing the deadline and now anything gets cited? Seems like a waste of time and stress for the youngster, even if he welcomes the enforcer role more than he probably should.

RD, did we ever have a clip of the Irish lock trying to pull McCaw out of a maul by his face earlier this year? Would love to know everyone's opinions on whether it was legal or not.


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browner November 20, 2012 11:30 pm

Watched it, & it's unacceptable as well......GET OFF THE FACE - Zero tolerance

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keenan November 20, 2012 11:05 pm

you can't help but have a little empathy for Etzebeth, yes the young boy is South AFrica's enforcer... he is supposed to be a physical, and intimidating presence on the field (even if it does take a bit of "friendly" foul play) but it seems like every other game they're gunning for him, trying to get him a ban, it's sad really....trying to ban him for his "headbut", and now this "eyegouge", pathetic

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Facepalm November 20, 2012 11:58 pm

I hope you mean sympathy.

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Pretzel November 21, 2012 2:20 pm

This is a little daft. There is no rugby position known as "the enforcer" it is a made up concept which frankly is a bit pointless in nowadays game. Etzebeth is just the kind of hard player that wants to intimidate others, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Either way, his headbutt was a headbutt by letter of the law, the movement was a perfect headbutt movement he just chose not to apply any force, and he did make contact, therefore why not ban him? Make him understand that if he wants to have a long bok career then behaving in that way will not help him out...

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Disco November 23, 2012 2:29 pm

This kind of behaviour never harmed Bakkies' chances of selection when available. As long as these players can reel it in and remember not to snap the guy's head off, I think we can leave them to it. When headlocks become a genuinely useful trick in the game we can discuss the skills of players like these... what I've seen of EE so far is not very impressive in rugby terms, he seems to get tired very quickly and comes out of line in defence regularly. Not sure he's completely au fait with the laws of the game outside the pack.

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Pretzel November 23, 2012 2:49 pm

Bakkies was a good player though, there was no doubt about that, his work rate and commitment were faultless. You remember seeing the video of him tackling Shane Williams? it is not so much the tackle just the fact that Shane ran past Bakkies and then slowed up and Bakkies never said "Oh he ran past me, someone else will tackle him" he ran straight back and tackle Shane from behind, and really that was the "good Bakkies" all over, he was always trying to make up for any lapses in concentration, always trying to do anything he could to use his weight to the teams advantage.... just so happens that at least 70% of the time he being a cheating bastard...

I would agree with you to some extent, EE has been good in the lineouts, but he is certainly no Bakkies, not yet anyway, he makes some hard yards sometimes (as any decent forward should do) but I am waiting for something outstanding... but then again, he is still young..

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browner November 20, 2012 11:27 pm

Guys, you're all excusing this behaviour ............... If any of you had played rugby to any decent level then you will know that face contact isn't needed......

It doesn't win the ball, it doesn't secure a turnover, it doesn't make any sense ---UNLESS you are trying to intimidate or injure or disable temporarily the opposition.

Message to the world of rugby ..... KEEP HANDS OFF FACES .... then we have a cleaner & more genuine rugby contest..

Don't think about lecturing on the good ol days, or how tough rugby is.....Face contact was never acceptable then & it isn't now

He knew what he was doing - 100% !

Shame really , cos he's a decent ball player, but he goes looking for the enforcement role too much

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Keenan7 November 20, 2012 11:47 pm

yeah, I do agree that intentional contact to the face has no place in the game, but watching the clip it is obvious Eben's hand to the eye area was accidental. Nearly as soon as his hand touches the area, he moves it away.
If there was intent to harm there, this conversation wouldnt be happening... but if any other player on the field had made the same contact there never would have been a citing, but there was, just because it was Eben Etzebeth.

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Facepalm November 21, 2012 12:01 am

What a tackle by JP Pieterson!!

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Skid986 November 21, 2012 12:03 am

Deliberate hand (which obviously includes fingers) to face contact IS permitted in law: ie, hand-off. Dangerous play is not. This was not dangerous play, but citing was right and supported as it allows player to be cleared of any accusations. No issue here. Move along please.

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Pretzel November 21, 2012 1:41 am

+1 from me as well..

Why not cite something which looks a little dubious, just so a little more investigation can be done... on closer inspection they probably said "yeup, looks more accidental than anything" and let him off. Good decisions all round I think!

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Billy Boy November 21, 2012 2:33 am

Nothing in it and such Etzebeth cleared on Tuesday. Complete waste of time by citing commissioner.

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jim November 21, 2012 4:53 am

Thanks for showing full matches. i live in California now and cannot get games live - legally - or replays, even on all the million channels they have. Its the pits. I'm so grateful.

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Colombes November 21, 2012 10:58 am

The contact with Laidlaw seems quite accidental >> The story of the big guy vs a smaller one takes all its sense here...
I agree with some people saying the citing was correct to precisely verify if there wasn't any malicious intentions. don't think there is a sort of conspiracy with english or british commissioners citing the SH players who will meet NH sides...
maybe a waste of time for the player and boks, but a true motivation for their match to come

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stroudos November 21, 2012 11:43 am

Seems to me any eye (or even face) contact could have been avoided by not putting Laidlaw in a half-nelson in the middle of a maul. I'm not aware of any specific rule against doing that but it's at least bastardly.

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stroudos November 21, 2012 11:46 am

Etzebeth is one big muscly motherfucker though, isn't he? 21 years old and already built like a brick karzi.

With the photo at the top of this post, he can add The Incredible Hulk to his list of lookalikes, along with Stiffler off American pie and BrĂ¼no.

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ConnachtMan November 21, 2012 3:09 pm

Mike McCarthy made him look average at best, check the video of the Irish match..

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stroudos November 21, 2012 3:54 pm

Yeah, I saw it - great hit!

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katman November 21, 2012 4:43 pm

Being upended in one tackle does not make a player look average. It was a great hit, but being caught off balance like that would have landed anyone on his arse. If he looks "average at best" after that hit, I guess your standards must be impossibly high and no one measures up.

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NicG November 21, 2012 12:16 pm

What a joke - fire that d00s citing commissioner. the fact that the Scotland camp said there was nothing in it should have prevented this ever going anywhere in the 1st place.

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Pretzel November 21, 2012 2:25 pm

Actually, I have to say that Laidlaw probably did get a bit of an eye poke in this incident, however I honestly believe it would have been entirely accidental, and I wouldn't even class it as reckless, so for that, I can see why he would have been cited.

I don't see any harm in what has happened, CC sees hands on face, perhaps hands around eyes, and thinks, hmm this is a 50/50 chance going on here. Perhaps looks at Etzebeth previous incidents, realises that he could be the new trouble making Bakkies and says, "yeup, I'll ship this one upstairs and let them decide"...

So the outcome? Etzebeth will probably be a bit more careful where he puts his hands, we are all aware of the fact that he pulled his hands away, he hasn't been banned, and therefore "justice has been done"...

NicG Strokosch said there was nothing in the foot on head incident against the AB's and that still got cited and a ban....

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browner November 23, 2012 6:22 pm

Strokosch was wrong.
Thank god he's not a coach.

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Pretzel November 24, 2012 1:33 pm

Yet you are a coach... pretty sure I'd favour Strokosch as a coach a million times over yourself...

Strokosch was not wrong if he felt there was nothing in it you tick.

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Alistair Hutton November 21, 2012 2:39 pm

Ritchie Reese has got to feel a little aggrieved after he got 240,000,000 weeks for an offence even more innocuous than that.

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Gonzoman November 21, 2012 5:46 pm

I think there's a whole lot of sound and fury about nothing on this board...the incident was suspicious at first glance, and was sent to the CC to see if there was anything in it. The CC rightly determined that it wasn't hand-to-eye, and even the hand-to-cheek was accidental, and dismissed the case. Everyone has done their jobs, and we've got the right outcome. End of story.

On another note...I thought you weren't allowed to put players into headlocks, even if they are in a maul!

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BoksKick November 21, 2012 6:13 pm

Totally innocuous contact, glad nothing came of this.

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Scots Whaehae November 21, 2012 11:07 pm

And another SH player gets away with something away from the play.

Last week it was Ellison trying to rip the arm off and this week a stamp by Louw on Laidlaw. I wonder what he did to p*ss of South Africa?!?


What is the citing commissioner doing for these incidents? Having a beer and picking his nose?

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Pretzel November 22, 2012 1:39 am

Hmmm, I disagree with the direction in which your comment is aimed, NH players are not exactly renowned for being angels, but that link is pretty damning... there was almost no need for the 6 to continue in that direction (towards Laidlaw) and the stamp (or step) was indeed a bit awkward looking. Interesting incident to see though, thanks for highlighting this..

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stroudos November 22, 2012 10:32 am

Blimey, didn't see that - unnecessary nasty little cheap shot. Didn't seem to do any harm at all to Laidlaw, but what a wanker!

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TeamTom November 22, 2012 10:24 pm

Haha, I'm Scottish and was at the game last wkend, at the time from pretty far back in the stadium it looked like a penalty but when you look at it again it's nothin, if anything once he realises he's holding Greg by the face he moves his hand. Bring on Tonga gona be freezing my balls off up in Aberdeen

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browner November 22, 2012 7:11 pm

Q? "........and this week a stamp by Louw on Laidlaw. I wonder what he did to p*ss of South Africa?!? "

Ans? ...... he occupied the no9 shirt ! That makes him a target for the SA 'hard' men.... cheap shot / inexcuseable thuggery.

& yes - Why wasn't Louw cited?

Maybe it wasn't serious enough?, maybe it's ok within 5m of the ball? Maybe Laidlaw wasn't injured enough ? ....... hmmnnn perhaps Citings should only happen in the case of a player staying down injured? or rolling around in agony

or maybe in order to ensure the perpetrator is always cited, Laidlaw should have dived on the floor rolled around, shouted & screamed & feigned a serious injury for the stamp on the back of the head to qualify for referee/citing interest ? ..... aka soccer !!!!

& for those in any doubt...Yes I am being sarcastic

The more there is a zero tolerance to off the ball 'thuggish' actions, the better this game will be. Thuggish = cheap shot = never justified.
get caught = get banned

Kids watch this, the sport is growing, and now it's professional the stakes are higher

RD ....... we all have a responsibility, to bang the drum !!!

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Pretzel November 22, 2012 8:35 pm

Browner, why are you such a negative Nancy?

Of course this was not a nice thing to do to a 10 (not 9), or any player, but it was hardly life threatening, your comment seems to be a gross knee jerk over reaction. I would like it, as much as any other for Louw to be cited and consequently banned, especially considering a Kiwi was banned the other day for a fairly weak touch to a head. But I cringe at your "Kids watch this", in fact you're exactly the reason players get banned/carded etc for minimal pitiful things, and some times even LEGAL things which look a bit nasty.

Perhaps you are golden boy who has never lost his cool, but I think the majority of players have at one point or another lost their cool, and one cannot expect red cards, for every disagreement between players. There is thuggery that surrounds players like Bakkies Botha, Schalk Burger, The Armitage winger brother, Jamie Cudmore, and that young English loon who arm locked that guy a while back. Then there are scuffles and fights, and occasionally rucking (the process of using your boots to remove someone from lying on the ball) which I personally (and I am sure I am not alone) would never be classed as thuggery, yet you apparently think so...

Why sugarcoat the game? People break necks in the most "controlled" (supposedly) parts of the game, like scrums etc... so perhaps the kiddiwinks who can not handle a bit of fisticuffs, a bit of rough housing, and an element of nastiness ON the pitch, should not join in on the actions.

Have you ever heard of "what happens on the pitch stays on the pitch"? Have you ever played a game where by you and an opposite player seem forever destined to disagree all over the pitch, yet afterwards enjoy a laugh and a pint in the bar?

If I don't come off the pitch with a few stud marks down my back and on my hands and perhaps a handshake with an arch rival on the pitch then I haven't got involved enough.. and if the kids don't like scuffles, then Soccer awaits.

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browner November 23, 2012 6:19 pm

Sometimes Pretzel you speak sense, sadly this time you've let yourself down.

This is tough sport, played by tough men, & fronting up is fine and enjoyable ! , but stamping [lightly or heavily] on a players head is never acceptable, If you want to beat someone shitless for a few 'trophy' scars get in a cage fight ring..... Loon Calum Clark should be banned for 5 years & have to pass a psychiatric test ! But it's idiots like you that try & blur the lines of acceptability

Come to think of it, i'd like to kick your teeth down your throat, split your mouth wide open in an off the ball incident & gouge your retina's apart then 'make amends' by simply buying you a packet of salt & vinegar crisps in the bar afterwards .....& I would definately shake hands with you.

Yeah yeah, " what happens on the pitch " zzzzzzzz ........ the old days, just like slavery - kids up chimneys & catholic priests enjoying boys ...... matey it's all history....modernise

funny enough, it's exactly your mindset which necessitates, active touch judges, TMO for foul play, Citings & some players going to prison for 'over zealous freindship but definately not thuggery momnets'....!! + lawyers getting involved.

If you had a talented son aged 18 set upon by a 35year old thug, then you'd say .........all fine by me..

yeah course you would

You can't educate a potatohead

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Pretzel November 23, 2012 10:51 pm

If I had a talented son aged 18 right now, I'd be questioning how they managed to get my seed at such a young age... in the future however I would ask what exactly my son did to piss off said 35 year old.

Kick my teeth down my throat, gouge me? Where abouts did you read that in my comment? I suppose I must have written that in somewhere as you clearly are never wrong...

As I said, send your kids to play soccer at least they'll make more money that way, and won't have to risk "getting a wittle owie boo boo fwom a bwig nawsty wugby pwayer"...

Unless it is actually gouging, fish hooking etc, it is rare to see players involved in "stuff" unless they actually want to be there...

Gouging is unforgiving, this however was not gouging...

"You can't educate a potatohead"

Yeup, I guess not, and you can't expect a negative nancy such as yourself to have a set of balls...

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Pretzel November 24, 2012 1:13 am

Oh and FYI browner, raking is different to stamping, I wouldn't imagine I'd have to tell a prop that, but hey, you never fail to surprise me..

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browner November 22, 2012 5:41 pm

RD intro said ......." If deemed to be guilty, Etzebeth will face a lengthy ban that ........further tarnish his reputation"

Get real RD... any Young Second Rower needs a few sending off's & decent number of Citing's,..... these are essential to help BUILD your reputation. The more you get the better you become in the eyes of those who prefer brutish rugby to skillful rugby ....!!!!!!

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browner November 23, 2012 6:25 pm

Ps... I'm bored with this subject..... moving on, & awaiting the next debate.
cheers chaps

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katman November 24, 2012 12:30 pm

You're confusing bored with boring.

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