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Hattingh Gets Four Weeks, Could Cut it Down to Three

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Hattingh Gets Four Weeks, Could Cut it Down to Three

Riekert Hattingh in action for the USA against England. Ian Muir photo.

Following his red card against Ireland, USA flanker Riekert Hattingh has been suspended four weeks by World Rugby.

Hattingh, who was cited and exonerated for a challenge in the air against England, was red-carded against Ireland for a dangerous tackle.

The World Rugby Disciplinary Committee chaired by Samantha Hillas QC (England) working with former internationals Leon Lloyd (England) and Bogdan Zebega (Romania), heard the case. They determined that"

  • That there had been direct contact from the player’s shoulder with the chin of the ball carrier;
  • That this contact was made with force;
  • The committee did not accept the submission that there was no contact with the ball carrier’s chin; and,
  • That although the Ireland No.2 was off balance, and the player did bend at the knees, the player had time to adjust his body height and drop his hips and his failing to do so led to the incident.

The Committee determined this action warranted a mandatory mid-range suspension, which is six weeks, and was reduced to four weeks because Hattingh apologized and has a clean disciplinary record up to this point. The four weeks means four competition weeks; if a team you're a part of isn't playing, then that doesn't count toward your suspension. With the Seattle Seawolves not involved in the Major League Rugby playoffs, that means he has to miss some other games instead.

Hattingh started his suspension this past weekend in the Seawolves' final game of the season, a 40-15 win over Houston. Was a member of the Washington Athletic Club 7s team and the Seattle Rugby Club, Hattingh would be available for selection for their games, and therefore he is set to miss the USA Club 7s Nationals in August, and Seattle's August 21 game scheduled against the Bend Rugby Club out of Oregon.

That leaves one more game to serve out the suspension, and that will have to be the World Cup Qualifier between the USA and Canada on September 4 in St. John's, Nfld. 

However, there's a chance Hattingh can be available for that last match if he participates in a Coaching Intervention Program which will teach techniques to avoid dangerous tackles.