The International Rugby Board (IRB) promised a revision of its disciplinary system after a one-week ban given to New Zealand’s Adam Thomson for stamping on Wednesday provoked a storm of protest.
Thomson is now set to miss the All Blacks’ Test against Italy in Rome tomorrow, but will be available to play against Wales and England in the remaining international fixtures of the world champions’ European tour.
The flanker, having been cited for “stamping or trampling” on the head of Scotland’s Alasdair Strokosch during New Zealand’s 51-22 victory last Sunday, was given a one-week ban by an IRB disciplinary hearing in London on Wednesday. Former England hooker Brian Moore described Thomson’s suspension as “ludicrously lenient.”
The punishment was in marked contrast to the eight-week ban handed out to Australia lock Rob Simmons by a separate IRB hearing in London earlier on Wednesday for a “tip tackle” on France flanker Yannick Nyanga during the Wallabies’ 33-6 defeat in Paris last Saturday.
Thomson, unlike Simmons, whom the match officials at the Stade de France could not identify as the guilty party, did receive a yellow card at Murrayfield, although Scotland coach Andy Robinson was not alone in thinking the forward had been fortunate to avoid being sent off.
IRB chief executive Brett Gosper, who took up his post in June, responded to Moore’s comments and similar complaints on Twitter by saying: “The IRB will review this case as it is a match under our jurisdiction.”
“If we decide to take action we will make it public,” Gosper added.
Samoa center Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu slammed the Thomson verdict and compared it with the three-week ban he received from England’s Rugby Football Union last year for tweets about Owen Farrell.
“I got three weeks for sarcastic tweets. So had I just rucked Farrells head I would have got only a week? It’s just so comical these days,” Fuimaono-Sapolu said.
Simmons received a ban of eight “active weeks.” His suspension runs until Feb. 24 and leaves Australia with just two fit locks heading into tomorrow’s Cook Cup clash at Twickenham.