Bulls

Bulls fume over Lauaki’s citing dismissal

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An administrative bungle and a refusal to enforce the law has left the Bulls fuming over the way in which Chiefs No.8 Sione Lauaki got off being cited for a high and dangerous tackle on Bulls wing Bryan Habana (pictured) during the Super 14 match at Loftus Versfeld


Lauaki’s hearing was meant to take place in Cape Town on Monday but was cancelled by judicial officer Dekker Govender on technical grounds after the citing was not received within the prescribed 12 hours after the game.


The Citing commissioner handed in his report two hours late but Sanzar still set a time and date for the hearing even though it was to be later cancelled by Govender, who said the citing was reported outside the prescribed time.

 

The Judicial Officer has the power to extend the deadline in exceptional circumstances but he felt that this was not necessary in this case.

 

On Tuesday the Bulls were still awaiting a report from SA Rugby with details of why the hearing did not take place but Bulls coach Frans Ludeke said that it was all water under the bridge and that his team would have to move on.


The Bulls are not happy with Lauaki getting off so easy as two of their players – Deon Stegmann and Bakkies Botha – were cited and handed heavy suspensions.


Lauaki was the third Chiefs player to be cited in two matches after Richard Kahui and James McGougan were both cited after their game against the Cheetahs – and both were found not guilty by judicial officer Janne Lubbe in Kimberley


“We’ll just focus on ourselves from now on,” Ludeke told the Pretoria News.


“We reported the incident to the citing commissioner but we can only trust and believe that the system in which we are working is fair and transparent.


“This is the decision that has been made and we need to respect that and continue with our job, which is to play rugby.


“We won’t allow this incident to side-track us from what we have to do this weekend. I haven’t heard yet what the reasons were for the hearing being cancelled.”


A source close to the team (who wanted to remain anonymous) however said that there was a feeling among the players that the system was out to punish South African teams and players while not showing the same application and uncompromising stance in handing out judgements to the Australasians.


“The citing commissioners and judicial officers overseas will go out of their way to find something to charge a South African player with, while our people just let them walk away scot free,” he said.


“I wouldn’t be surprised if our players felt that their franchises were not protecting them.”


“That is probably what the Bulls players are thinking at the moment.”

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