Ex-Springbok escapes ban as footage emerges of ‘reckless’ act leading to facial fracture

Jared Wright
Lions forward Willem Alberts and his tackle during the Cardiff URC match.

Lions forward Willem Alberts and his tackle during the Cardiff URC match.

Lions forward Willem Alberts has escaped sanction for what has been described as a ‘swinging arm’ tackle to the head of Cardiff scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou.

The incident occurred in the Round 16 United Rugby Championship clash between the Lions and Cardiff at Emirates Airline Park, with Bertranou forced off the pitch with multiple facial fractures and a concussion.

Earlier this week, Cardiff head coach Matt Sherratt confirmed that the Welsh side had lodged a citing complaint to the URC, who dismissed it as it was not clear and obvious.

Willem Alberts’ dangerous tackle

However, damning footage of the evidence has been shared on social media that has left fans questioning the URC’s decision not to sanction the Lions forward.

“Here’s the reverse angle of the incident that left Gonzalo Bertranou with multiple facial fractures and concussion. Referee looking straight at it, TMO didn’t review it and the URC refused a citing. Swinging arms to the head now allowed?” Cardiff Rugby Life’s post read along with a video of the incident.

Player welfare group Progressive Rugby added that it is a terrible look for the competition.

“What are we doing here? This is a reckless swinging arm that has resulted in a significant facial injury and concussion to a player. Whether we like it or not, the elite game is the shop window for this great sport. Rugby is physical but fair. This is a terrible look,” Their post read.

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Journalist Ben James was also left puzzled.

“Watched this quite several times in past couple of days (clearly more than the URC did) and I still can’t get my head around how there’s not been a citing,” he wrote.

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Sherrat’s reaction

The Lions went on to claim a 34-13 victory, scoring a try shortly after Bertranou was forced off the pitch.

Speaking on the incident earlier this week, Sherratt said that he was not happy with the decision and Alberts’ actions.

“I don’t usually say this but I wasn’t very happy with the action that led to the injury,” he said.

“It looked like a swinging arm [and] we’ve gone through the right channels with it.

“It was never going to be clear and obvious but I was gutted for him because it was a nasty injury.”

READ MORE: Wales star a man on a mission for club and country after overcoming injury woes