Argentina full-back cited for incident which knocked out Springboks’ Grant Williams

Colin Newboult
Grant Williams South Africa v Argentina RC 2023 - PA.jpg

Springbok scrum-half Grant Williams is carted off the field during the early stages of the Test against Argentina in Johannesburg.

Juan Cruz Mallia’s attempted charge down which ended Grant Williams’ game has been deemed worthy of a red card by the citing commissioner.

From the kick off, Springboks scrum-half Williams claimed the ball and looked to clear it.

Mallia was there quickly to charge him down and did make connection with Williams’ attempted clearance, but in the follow through he also took out the half-back.

The Bok playmaker appeared to be immediately knocked out after being hit in the head by the Argentinian’s backside.

Match officials’ view

Referee Andrew Brace and his team of match officials did not deem that it was worthy of any punishment and that it was simply a ‘rugby incident’.

The citing commissioner has disagreed, however, and Mallia will be up before a disciplinary panel on Tuesday.

“Juan Cruz Mallia of Argentina has been cited for alleged foul play during a Rugby Championship match at the weekend,” a SANZAAR statement read.

“Cruz Mallia is alleged to have contravened Law 9.11: Players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others, during the match between South Africa and Argentina at Emirates Airlines Park in Johannesburg on 29 July 2023.

“Upon further review of the match footage, the Citing Commissioner deemed in his opinion the incident had met the Red Card threshold for foul play.”

World Cup availability

If Mallia is found guilty, it will potentially have a knock-on effect for the Rugby World Cup with Los Pumas having just two matches between now and the start of the tournament.

Following the end of the Rugby Championship, Michael Cheika’s men will take on South Africa in the reverse fixture this weekend before facing Spain on August 26.

The incident will also impact Williams’ World Cup chances after his game lasted just 10 seconds.

The scrum-half was fortunately well enough to take his place on the bench later in the encounter, but he will miss the clash with Los Pumas on Saturday as he goes through concussion protocols.

“Grant was out cold so I think there is definitely concussion,” Boks head coach Jacques Nienaber said after the match.

“I don’t know the extent of it, but he will probably be out for at least two weeks.”

READ MORE: Springboks believe ‘ground out’ win will help at the Rugby World Cup