Staniforth suspended for one week




Emirates Western Force inside centre Scott Staniforth has been suspended for one week by a SANZAR Judicial Committee after a tackle on a Highlanders player in the Tooheys New Super 14 match in Dunedin on Saturday.

Staniforth faced the three-person Committee in Wellington late today after being cited by Match Citing Commissioner Mike O’Leary for a dangerous tackle on Highlanders loose forward Josh Blackie in the 21st minute of the match.

Committee Chairman Bruce Squire QC said the contact made by Staniforth carried a risk of serious injury to Blackie. He also said there was a degree of recklessness.

But the Committee found there were a number of mitigating factors to Staniforth’s credit.

In eight years of professional rugby, Staniforth had a clean record, he had apologised to Blackie and there were aspects of the incident itself which persuaded the Committee that it was not in the worst category of offending of this kind.

‘As a result, the Committee determined that the incident fell within the least serious entry band prescribed in IRB Regulation 17 Schedule of Recommended Sanctions.’

Staniforth said he was disappointed by the decision but accepted the Committee’s verdict and would now focus on the match against the Crusaders in Perth on Friday week.

Emirates Western Force head coach John Mitchell said Staniforth had been one of the team’s best performers and would be missed.

‘We’re obviously disappointed ‘ Scott is one of the competition’s leading try scorers and a senior member of our team. But we accept the Committee’s decision and we move on,’ he said.

Mitchell said Haig Sare would now come into the 22 for this Friday’s game against the Blues at North Harbour, in Auckland.

A decision on whether Staniforth will return to Perth earlier than planned will be made tomorrow.

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