South African director of rugby Rassie Erasmus believes Jesse Kriel should face no further punishment for his tackle on Scotland’s Jack Dempsey.
The reigning world champions beat the Scots in an 18-3 victory on Sunday to kick off their Rugby World Cup campaign, but Kriel’s high tackle was a worrying moment.
The South African launched himself into the tackle and smashed the head of Dempsey who was trying to break through the opposition defense, with critics calling for a red card.
Kriel escaped punishment although England’s Tom Curry was given his marching orders in Saturday’s win over Argentina for a similar challenge. However, Erasmus is not worried that any follow-up action will be taken.
Erasmus, who guided the Springboks to World Cup victory in 2019, explained there was no “direct contact”.
South African director of rugby Rassie Erasmus (pictured) is confident no action will be taken against Jesse Kriel.
Kriel (left) avoided being carded for this challenge against Scotland’s Jack Dempsey (number eight).
Speaking on Monday, he said: “We’re confident they didn’t cite him and we’re very confident there won’t be a citation,” Erasmus said.
“There was definitely no frontal contact, it was a tackle on the ball. He went up after tackling the ball.
“I saw some photos taken right after Jesse made direct contact with the ball. You can make any tackle like that look really bad. If you watch for a millisecond, a second or two in back, you will see that he clearly tackled the ball,” he added.
“So, yes, we are very happy with the way it was refereed. We are satisfied with the decision that was made.
“I will be very surprised if at the first contact with the ball something comes of it.”
Replays show the left side of Kriel’s face slamming into Dempsey, with the 29-year-old center not appearing to dip his knees enough before launching into the challenge.
England’s Tom Curry (middle left) was sent off for a similar challenge on Saturday night.
He avoided any punishment as South Africa secured a comfortable victory, while Curry will discover his fate before a disciplinary panel on Tuesday.
However, former Scotland international John Barclay believes the challenge deserved an immediate red card as he analyzed the incident on ITV.
“You’ve been playing for two minutes and you have an incident that’s worth a red card. It’s a red card,” Barclay said.
“He comes from far away. Clear line of sight and he applies force. It’s face to face. It’s a red card.