Cell C Sharks coach Gary Gold has said there is no ill-discipline rot in Durban and that the multiple Red Cards this season have been isolated incidents.
The Sharks were punished by a determined Crusaders side 52 / 10 on Saturday, and if 2 tries against them in the 1st 5 minutes did not spell out the end for the home team, Jean Deysel’s Red Card most certainly did.
The Sharks have now seen 3 Red Cards in 3 games, starting with captain Bismarck du Plessis being sent off for lashing out against the Chiefs, and Frans Steyn joining him on the sidelines for a tip tackle in the same game.
This week, another one of the Sharks’ senior players in Jean Deysel, was handed a Red Card for a deliberate knee to a Crusaders player’s head.
Du Plessis was banned for 4 weeks, with Steyn out for 5 on appeal, after initially getting off scot free.
It remains to be seen what sanction Deysel will receive, but Gold maintains there is no trend developing.
“It is isolated incidents,” Gold said of the offences that have been committed by Sharks players this season.
“By and large, our discipline is good.
“We are just on the wrong end of some pretty severe offences – and they are not acceptable.
“I though we were rid of them, but unfortunately, another one reared its head today.”
Gold does not believe there can be any explanation as to why these incidents keep occurring – with such regularity – as it is obviously not something that is promoted by the management.
“We certainly do not coach or condone foul play,” Gold added.
“I have never in my life, no matter what team I have been involved in, encouraged a player to commit foul play.”
Each of the incidents – apart from Steyn’s tackle, where intention is far harder to prove – have been shocking and uncalled for, but Gold believes things could have been different.
“The other 2 incidents (Du Plessis’ kick and Deysel’s knee) were silly incidents.” said the coach.
“If the knee was to the buttock instead of the head, he would have got a Yellow Card.
“If Bismarck lashed out and kicked the guy on his thigh, it would have been a Yellow Card too.
“I do not think we have an epidemic in the team, you have to take each of those incidents on merit.”
In saying that, Gold could only reiterate a call for consistency when the matter is inevitably referred to a SANZAR citing committee.
“If you take the Horwill incident (in the Reds vs Melbourne Rebels match on Friday) as precedent – a 2nd Red Card for the same player in a season for foul play with clear intent, punching a guy in the head,” Gold continued.
“I am sure Jean will have a hearing, and face a ban, but all I can ask for is that there is a level of consistancy.”