Lions Tour: Kyle Sinckler could face lengthy ban for alleged biting incident

Prop cited for incident during a ruck in the 64th minute of defeat to South Africa

Kyle Sinckler of the Lions is tackled during the second Test against South Africa in Cape Town. Photograph:  David Rogers/Getty Images

Kyle Sinckler of the Lions is tackled during the second Test against South Africa in Cape Town. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

 

Kyle Sinckler could face a lengthy ban after the British and Irish Lions prop was cited for biting South African lock Franco Mostert during Saturday’s fractious second test in Cape Town but, remarkably, no other player will face disciplinary action.

The incident is alleged to have taken place during a ruck in the 64th minute of the Lions’ 27-9 loss which has set up a series decider next Saturday.

Sinckler, who has a chequered disciplinary record, will incur a minimum ban of 12 weeks if the citing is upheld by Tuesday’s disciplinary hearing, rising to in-excess of 24 weeks for severe offences.

There had been speculation that Stuart Hogg, Maro Itoje, Cheslin Kolbe and Faf de Klerk could all be cited for different incidents during a bad-tempered match. However, quite astonishingly, only Sinckler will face a disciplinary hearing.

A statement from World Rugby stated that Sinckler had been cited by the match commissioner Scott Newland of Australia. The hearing will be chaired by Adam Casselden SC (Australia), with former international players David Croft and John Langford, the ex-Munster and Wallabies lock, completing the panel.

In an unexpected twist, this incident received nothing like the same attention on either social media or in the South African media, so much so that the Lions issued a statement on behalf of Stuart Hogg in which he denied allegations that he had bitten his Springboks’ counterpart Willie le Roux.

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“Following speculation that has surfaced online, I would like to categorically deny any foul play in last night’s game,” Hogg said in the statement.

“I would never bite an opponent and I am annoyed and upset by this unsubstantiated accusation. I’ve always been proud of playing rugby in the spirit of the game.”

A clip of Maro Itoje placing his knee on the throat area of Damian de Allende has also been widely viewed on social media, with the former England outhalf Alex Goode tweeting: “Not a great look from Maro Itoje is it?”

As for the Springboks, their winger Cheslin Kolbe was fortunate to be punished with merely a yellow card for taking Conor Murray out in the air. He also clattered into Tom Curry with a clumsy head-first tackle that the officials dismissed.

Furthermore Faf de Klerk has not been cited for a high, shoulder led hit on Murray’s face toward the end of the first-half.

The narrative for the game had been set by a 62-minute long video rant from South Africa’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus highlighting 26 supposedly wrong decisions against his team, prompting Warren Gatland to express the hope that this has not established a dangerous precedent.

“Look, I hope that doesn’t happen. We’ve got systems and processes in place, and hopefully World Rugby does look at that in terms of making sure that everyone follows the protocols and I think that’s important. We do press conferences and try and give feedback and information, and we deal with the referees through World Rugby. That’s the process.”

Meanwhile as expected, the Springboks have added the 54-times capped, 35-year-old Duane Vermeulen to their squad in the expectation that their World Cup winning Number 8 will be part of their matchday squad for next Saturday’s third test series decider.

The 54-times capped 35-year-old has been undergoing rehabilitation following surgery several weeks ago on an ankle injury.

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