New foul play review committee in Super Rugby aims for consistency
The introduction of a Foul Play Review Committee during Super Rugby was announced on Thursday as part of a process to achieve consistency in disciplinary hearings this season.
South Africa‚ New Zealand‚ Australia and Argentina Rugby (Sanzaar) also announced other changes to its judicial process aimed at improving consistency in punishment.
In a tournament as geographically spread as Super Rugby‚ speedy and equitable decision-making when it comes to punishment and disciplinary hearings is essential.
Every time a player receives a red card and faces a disciplinary hearing‚ there is a cost involved of hiring lawyers while also impacting on the team if the player is suspended.
Sanzaar are aiming‚ through the introduction of the Foul Play Review Committee‚ to have more cohesion in sentencing and punishment.
With World Rugby making amendments to the high tackle law in terms of a zero tolerance approach‚ it’s inevitable that there will be a higher number of yellow and red cards this season.
That was clear in the first month of the law tweak during European competitions in January‚ which saw over 50 yellow cards and 12 reds for high tackle infringements.
Ensuring a fair meting out of justice is more vital than ever.
The Foul Play Review Committee will be comprised of a consistent panel of three members.
Senior Judicial Officer Nigel Hampton QC (New Zealand) will chair the committee.
Former Bok wing Stefan Terblanche‚ who is also the CEO of the SA Rugby Legends Association‚ and former Wallaby and Brumbies lock John Langford from Australia will assist Hampton.
In a statement released by SA Rugby‚ it was explained that: The committee will‚ firstly‚ review all incidents of red cards‚ citing commissioner referrals and misconduct‚ and make a determination based on the information before them.
“The committee will meet at a fixed time to be determined at the conclusion of each round and the infringing player will have the ability to accept the decision of the committee or have the right to be heard at a formal judicial hearing within the following 24 hours.
“In the determination of an incident and the handing down of any sanctions‚ the committee will now have the ability to exclude any regular season Super Rugby byes as part of a meaningful sanction.”
This means‚ for example‚ a three-week suspension means a player will miss three Super Rugby matches – byes or matches in other competitions are excluded from the sanction.
Saru’s statement continued: This is a significant change and will ensure all sanctions issued during Super Rugby are treated consistently across all teams.
“Other changes to the judicial process are:
• Permitting an incident to be referred back to the Citing Commissioner for review if new evidence becomes available outside the existing allowable time frame for determination;
• The introduction of a three-person Foul Play Review Committee;
• The exclusion of the regular season bye rounds in any sanction; and
• The ability of Judicial Committees to issue a warning for foul play offences that in their opinion do not quite meet the ‘red card threshold’.”
Sanzaar chief executive Andy Marinos explained the thinking behind the changes.
“The new process is the result of the identification of certain challenges within the application of an effective and consistent judicial process‚” Marinos said.
“It has followed a comprehensive review of Super Rugby 2016 and a consultation process with the four national unions (ARU‚ NZR‚ SA Rugby and UAR).
“The changes also follow World Rugby’s acceptance‚ following a Judicial Review Conference last year that competition organisers be allowed to tailor judicial processes to suit the challenges associated within their competitions.
“Sanzaar believes Super Rugby has unique challenges across six territories and 15 time zones and the enhanced Super Rugby judicial process will deliver a more streamlined and effective system for teams and a more consistent outcome for players.”
- TMG Digital/TMG Sport