Smith red card angers Ackermann

Lions coach Johan Ackermann wants the red card system to be overhauled after his flanker Kwagga Smith was sent off in Saturday’s Super Rugby final against the Crusaders.

The Lions suffered a 25-17 loss to the men from Christchurch in Johannesburg and the home side had to play most of the match with 14 men after Smith received his marching orders for colliding with Crusaders full-back David Havili in the air.

Ackermann conceded that he understood the sanction against Smith was to the letter of the law but said he disagreed with it as it as it was against “common sense” and physics.

The Gloucester-bound coach feels a suitable punishment for Smith could have been worked out after the match.

“I made a point when (Lions hooker) Robbie Coetzee got a red card – how I feel about red cards,” Ackermann told Supersport after the final. 

“I don’t think 62 000 people pay to see a 15 versus 14 game – the player can get disciplined afterwards and I will stand by that, especially if it is not outside the law like a kick in the face or a punch, or dirty play,” he told journalists after the game.

“Again, I can’t say too much because one has to respect what the officials say, but one must take into account that if a player jumps in the air forward, where does he go if someone touches his legs. But I suppose the New Zealand people are happy now that Jaco Peyper is a good ref, because last week he wasn’t a good ref.

“Rudolf Straeuli (Lions chief executive) summed it up because when he (Kwagga) was man of the match four times, everyone loved him, so why would that change?

“Again it is an interpretation about physics and a law, and people – that’s my problem – a law says one thing but common sense says another thing but anyhow. He is a great player, he was tremendous for us through the whole season, we can’t judge him by one incident.