Unseen Bok grub act on Ireland’s player of year could have ended his World Cup
Given how physical the match was between Ireland and South Africa was on Saturday night at the Stade de France, it is crazy that there were no serious injuries or cards handed out by referee Ben O’Keeffe. Then again, there probably should have been.
South Africa replacement loosehead prop Ox Nche can count himself very lucky that he managed to remain on the Stade de France pitch in the second-half, and likewise Ireland flanker and reigning World Rugby player of the year Josh van der Flier can count himself very lucky that he is not ruled out of the rest of the World Cup with a broken hand. That is because Nche subtly stamped on the hand of van der Flier in the second-half of their encounter and got away with it.
Nche did this while leaving a ruck which van der Flier was at the bottom of, and it was quite serious. After all, that is all 114kg of a prop wearing studs and putting all his weight on the hand of another player.
At first, it does look like Nche accidentally place his foot on the hand of van der Flier. It could just be good acting, but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt here. But when someone steps on another person’s hand, they immediately know about it and will instantly pull their foot away. Nche does not do that though, as he seems to press all his weight on the flanker’s hand before eventually moving his foot. This is all done over the space of a couple of seconds, but even the most one-eyed Bok fans would have a hard time claiming that Nche was not aware that he was standing on someone’s hand rather than turf.
He was very lucky to get away with that.
Take a look at the incident here:
— Derf (@DerfDvx) September 23, 2023