Bulls face nervy wait on Hanekom citing for Munster clash

Bulls No 8 Cameron Hanekom is shown a yellow card by referee Mathieu Raynal during the Champions Cup quarter-final against Northampton last Saturday. Photo: BackpagePix

Bulls No 8 Cameron Hanekom is shown a yellow card by referee Mathieu Raynal during the Champions Cup quarter-final against Northampton last Saturday. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Apr 17, 2024


As if all the flak around picking a “B team” last week and sustaining several injuries weren’t enough to deal with, Bulls boss Jake White has another major worry ahead of Saturday’s massive United Rugby Championship showdown with Munster at Loftus Versfeld (5.05pm kickoff).

Star No 8 Cameron Hanekom received a citing complaint yesterday for his dangerous tackle on Northampton centre Fraser Dingwall during last weekend’s 59-22 Champions Cup quarter-final defeat at Franklin’s Gardens.

Hanekom received a yellow card in the 49th minute, and that contributed to the second-half blow-out for the Pretoria side, who were still in the contest at halftime, when they were just 28-22 behind.

The 21-year-old Hanekom was one of the few Bulls players who took the fight to Northampton, producing an industrious performance in his return to the side after sitting out a few weeks with a hamstring injury.

He made a number of powerful carries and looked to impose himself physically on the Northampton pack, but paid the price for what could be deemed a spear, or tip, tackle.

The European Professional Club Rugby organisation said in a statement yesterday that the citing complaint against Hanekom was made by the match citing commissioner, Stuart Morgan-Scott of Wales.

“Law 9.18, a player must not lift an opponent off the ground and drop or drive that player so that their head and/or upper body make contact with the ground,” the EPCR said.

“Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for foul play, Law 9.18 carries the following sanction entry points: low-end, 6 weeks; mid-range, 10 weeks; top-end: 14 to 52 weeks.

“Pamela Woodman (Scotland), chair, Marcello d’Orey (Portugal) and Bogdan Zebega (Romania) have been appointed as the independent disciplinary committee for the hearing which will take place by video conference” today.

So, if Hanekom ise found guilty, a low-end sanction of six weeks would put a major spanner in White’s plans to win the URC title.

The Bulls are unlikely to have Springbok flank Marco van Staden (knee) back for the Munster clash, while another loose forward in Marcell Coetzee also sustained a knee injury against Lyon that is likey to keep him sidelined for a few more weeks.

So, that is arguably the Bulls’ first-choice loose trio who may miss the Munster clash, which will be followed by the Ospreys (April 27), Glasgow (May 11), Benetton (May 18) and Sharks (June 1) before the playoffs.

The 2022 URC finalists are third on the log with 45 points, two ahead of Munster, while they trail leaders Leinster (54) and Glasgow (49).

White will select his strongest availab le team on Friday, but said he would assess the injury situation after arriving back in Pretoria from Northampton.

Bok stars Kurt-Lee Arendse and Canan Moodie were also understood to have picked up niggles against Lyon, while lock Ruan Nortjé (hamstring) has been out of action for a few weeks already.

White will hope that Nortjé is ready to play on Saturday, as Munster have included Springbok giant RG Snyman in their tour squad.

Snyman will be keen to produce a big performance against his former team, while other top names in the group include veteran Irish flank Peter O’Mahoney, lock Tadhg Beirne and scrumhalf Conor Murray.