Juan Cruz Mallia Suspended Following Grant Williams Incident


The SANZAAR Judicial Committee has found Juan Cruz Mallia of Argentina guilty of contravening Law 9.11: Players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others after he was cited following the Rugby Championship Match between Argentina and the Springboks. Mallia has been suspended from all forms of the game for 2 weeks up to and including 18 August 2023.

The incident occurred in the first minute of the match between South Africa and Argentina played at Emirates Airlines Park in Johannesburg on 29 July 2023. Grant Williams was concussed and stretched off after a collision with Argentina fullback Juan Cruz Mallia. To the dismay of the Springboks supporters, no action was taken against Mallia following the incident.

The SANZAAR Judicial Committee of Nigel Hampton KC (Chairman), David Croft and Ofisa Tonu’u assessed the case. In his finding, Judicial Committee Chairman Nigel Hampton KC ruled the following:

"Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including from the player, the Argentinian coach and the match referee, as well as submissions from his legal representative, Aaron Lloyd, the Foul Play Review Committee upheld the citing under Law 9.11."

"With respect to sanction the Judicial Committee considered the act of foul play was reckless, with a high degree of danger and had a considerable impact on the victim player. The Committee considered all relevant factors of World Rugby’s Head Contact Process and sanctioning table, but given the evidence from both the referee and the coach as to how successful charge downs of kicks are viewed by match officials and as to how coaching of players is conducted as a consequence, the Committee decided that a mid-range sanction would be wholly disproportionate to the player’s fault and that the foul play merited a low-range entry point of 2 weeks."