Reds send protest over Sharks 16th man


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The Reds have reportedly sent an official protest over an extra-man fiasco which enabled South Africa’s Sharks to thwart a possible try in Durban last weekend.

Around 10 minutes from full time when the Sharks pulled away from the Reds on Saturday the Sharks game was brought to a brief halt as the officials realised that the Sharks were playing with 16 men on the field. Captain Johann Muller went off and replacement Craig Burden stayed on.

The situation leaves the Reds with a a case for them to be awarded a bonus point denied to them by an illegal player being on the field.

It is a established method of punishment to lose a player for 10 minutes but the reverse of that happened and the Sharks had an extra player on the field for 20 % of the normal sin bin time.

The extraordinary situation saw the Sharks replacement being on the field at Absa Stadium for more than two minutes as an undetected 16th man where he made two key tackles.

One shut a defensive hole when he brought down Reds captain Chris Latham and another, near his own tryline, was penalised because he failed to roll away from the Reds attacker.

“It’s a flagrant breach of rules. We’re not suggesting we get handed the winning points but the whole competition needs a clarification,” Reds team manager Brendan Morris told the Courier Mail from Durban last night.

Morris emailed an official complaint to Bloemfontein-based SANZAR tournament director Johan Botes outlining the Sharks’ 16-man faux pas.

Burden, used as a back-rower, took the field after the Sharks scored their third try for their matchwinning 22-10 lead.

The illegal player was on the field from the 68th minute for 2 min 10 sec.

“He made two tackles, including one where Chris Latham’s run was thwarted,” Morris said.

“The detailed research is in the letter and also, I believe, the extra man issue is in the report of the match manager (former South African coach Rudolf Straeuli).”

A precedent for this kind of mistake was set in 2003 in the world cup where England were fined more than $20,000 for having a 16th man, Dan Luger, on the field for just six seconds against Samoa in Melbourne.


It should be pointed out that while Luger was on the field an England player was lieing on field out injured not making tackles.

The IRB issued England with a fine and an English official was also barred from touchline duty for two games.

When asked if the Reds would argue to be awarded the four winning points taken from the match by the Sharks, coach Phil Mooney was diplomatic.

“It’s with SANZAR. There may be a fine but it’s not for me to decide the issue of competition points,” Mooney said.

“It’s hard enough to beat 15 opponents on the field without having 16 trying to tackle you.

“There’s no doubt the illegal player made a tackle when we were on attack going for a try.”   

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