Let 15 play against 15 and deal with foul play after the 80 minutes. That’s the view of Lions boss Johan Ackermann after his hooker, Robbie Coetzee, was red-carded on Saturday, leaving his team having to play the final 50 minutes with just 14 men.
It didn’t matter in the end as the Lions still had too much class for the Southern Kings. The home team ran out 54-10 winners at Ellis Park for their 12th win in 13 matches.
Coetzee was on Monday banned for five weeks for kneeing Kings flank Chris Cloete in the face. He is not allowed to play any rugby for five weeks, but because of the June Test window – and Super Rugby coming to a stop for virtually the whole month – Coetzee will miss only one match, against the Sunwolves at Ellis Park on July 1.
Ackermann was disappointed in Coetzee’s behaviour, but said there had been factors that led to him striking Cloete with his knee.
“It’s a contact game and there will always be reactions. There were also a number of incidents that happened before that (the knee to the face) with the same player,” said Ackermann referring to Cloete, who’d been handed a yellow card for an incident earlier in the game involving Warren Whiteley.
“I don’t think there was intent on Robbie’s part, he’s not that kind of person. But this is a lesson we can all learn from ... we’ve got to be careful.”
Ackermann added fans deserved to watch a contest between 15 players on each side and that dishing out red cards during the game was something that could be looked at in future.
“I believe there is enough time after a match to do the whole process of issuing red cards,” said Ackermann.
“Giving as player a yellow card during the game is a solution, but a red card takes the contest away, especially at Test match level. If it’s a serious offence, the (offending) guy will pay the price eventually.
“People come out to watch a fair contest. Even with spear tackles I don’t believe there is intent, but yet guy pays price (during the game).
“ In my view, I don’t like red cards. I think there is enough time afterwards to deal with the matter. Then again there are laws and we must abide by them.”