Rodney So�oialo and Paul Tito suspended for a week




Hurricanes players Rodney So’oialo and Paul Tito have both been suspended for one week after being found guilty of trampling in the Rebel Sport Super 14 match between the Hurricanes and the Cats at Westpac Stadium, Wellington last night, Friday 24 February.

The two players faced a SANZAR Judicial Committee hearing at the New Zealand Rugby Union offices in Wellington today after being cited by Match Citing Commissioner Mike O’Leary for the incident in the 19th minute of the match.

The Judicial Committee comprised Bruce Squire, QC, (Chairman) and rugby administrators Mattie Blackburn and Brian Coulter.

So’oialo and Tito were represented by lawyer Tim Castle, Hurricanes coach Colin Cooper and Hurricanes manager Garry Carnachan.

Committee Chairman Bruce Squire said that after careful consideration of all the evidence put before it, including video footage of the incident, the Committee was satisfied that both players were reckless in the fashion in which they had used their boots in the ruck.

The Committee considered, however, that the offending fell within the least serious range and that because of the unblemished playing records of the two players concerned and their outstanding service to the game of rugby, both on and of the field, there were compelling reasons why the penalties otherwise prescribed by IRB Regulations need not be imposed in this case.

The Committee noted also the absence of any injury to the Cats player involved, who continued to play in the game, and, therefore, determined a suspension of one week was an appropriate penalty.

In its deliberations, the Committee noted views expressed by some rugby commentators that the incident involved in this case was merely part and parcel of the game of rugby and did not warrant a citing by the Citing Commissioner.

To the players’ credit, they did not seek to advance similar misguided views, based on a less than complete understanding of the rules of the game, to the Committee.  Both they and their coach responsibly acknowledged that rucking can involve the risk of quite serious injury to players and the importance that is attached to ensuring rucking is carried out within the rules which are designed to minimise the risk of such injury.

The suspension means the players will be unavailable for the Hurricanes match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, South Africa, on 5 March.

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