JP Nel has thrown his toys about being suspended for 4 weeks.
JP Nel will say goodbye to South African rugby, shortly. The 28-year-old Bulls centre will head off to Japan, after being suspended for four weeks due to a dangerous tackle on Sharks’ Stefan Terblanche.
JJ Harmse reports for Sport 24 that in a candid interview on Thursday, Nel said it has become clear that his reputation in domestic rugby creates unnecessary obstacles for him and his teammates.
He feels that previous charges have contributed to his suspension and that a stigma now clings to his name.
In 2007 and 2008 Nel was suspended, twice for a week due to a stiff arm and a spear tackle respectively.
Since then he has played over 1 000 minutes of rugby without being penalised, until he was cited in Saturday’s match against the Sharks.
On Thursday morning Nel’s appeal against the suspension failed when the legal committee of SANZAR decided to support the decision reached by Dekker Govender, a local judicial officer.
This decision was made despite a statement from Terblanche asking that Nel’s suspension be lifted, because he feels there was no malice in the tackle.
Terblanche’s appeal was rejected, as well as the new photos offered by Gerrie Swart, Nel’s legal representative.
A disappointed Nel said he’ll never play in a SANZAR match again. “I played a full season in Japan and thirteen Super 14 matches without so much as a penalty against me. Then there is one incident where I plead my innocence, and I am punished for such a long period. It’s unfair towards me as well as my team.”
Nel definitely won’t be playing in the semi-final against the Crusaders at Loftus on Saturday. And the Bulls are still uncertain about the fitness of Wynand Olivier, their other centre.
“If Wynand can’t play, we’ll have to adjust, since I won’t be there either. My teammates have been let down, and I have no control over that.
“My dreams of playing for the Bulls in a final at Loftus have been shattered.”
According to Nel, who has played in 78 Super-rugby matches for the Bulls and 79 for the Blue Bulls, will associate himself with Japanese rugby. He plays for the NTT club outside Tokyo.
”I very much wanted to return for another Super 14 season next year, but I can’t. Any team that picks me now will be running a risk, regardless of what I do. So I’d rather start over in a new place where I can be judged instead of being condemned.”
Nel will try to make the Japanese team which will play in the World Cup in New Zealand in 2011.
“I’ll do my best to make that team. I had Bok dreams, but after the suspension I know they won’t be realised.”Tweet