West says van Velze ban hard for Saints to take

SITTING IT OUT - GJ van Velze has been handed a four-week ban
SITTING IT OUT - GJ van Velze has been handed a four-week ban

Dorian West admits Gerrit-Jan van Velze’s four-week ban is hard to take.

But Saints’ forwards coach says he understands the RFU’s desire to take action in a bid to prevent dangerous collisions in future.

Van Velze pleaded guilty to a tip tackle on Exeter scrum-half Will Chudley, at a disciplinary hearing in Coventry on Tuesday.

He will now miss Saints’ next four Premiership games, leaving the coaching staff without their first-choice No.8 for the games against Bath, Worcester, London Wasps and London Irish.

It’s not a prospect that pleases West, but he is not complaining about the RFU’s decision to suspend the South African.

“It always seems harsh when players get an initial ban of eight weeks and it’s reduced to four because of previous good behaviour and remorse and all that sort of stuff,” said West.

“It seems a long time out of the game, a month, four weeks out of the game for something you haven’t meant to do. It’s one of those things we have to live with.

“Four weeks just seems to be a long time to be without someone or to have the player missing what he gets paid for.”

After the incident. Van Velze apologised on Twitter, saying ‘Sorry for the ill discipline today, I had no intention to hurt anyone, haven’t seen the replay yet but will have a look. #verydisappointed’

And West says there was no malice in the challenge on Chudley, feeling it was just ‘one of those things’.

“I think it (the tackle) is just one of those things,” said West. “It just happens in the game and you haven’t meant to do it.

“It happens when someone’s more powerful than somebody else and there’s a lot of physicality and aggression in the game.

“It’s something that sometimes happens but you’ve got to limit it because it’s dangerous and nobody wants anyone getting hurt, but it’s just one of those that’s sometimes hard to take.”