Nic Stirzaker of the Rebels has been suspended for one week after he was cited in a Super Rugby match between his side and the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday. The Duty Judicial Officer has accepted an acknowledgement of breach by Stirzaker under Law 10.4 (b) Stamping or trampling. A player must not stamp or trample an opponent.
The player has been suspended from all forms of the game for one week up to and including Sunday 22 February 2015.. The Duty Judicial Officer, Nicholas Davidson QC, assessed the case and recorded, “I took into account that the player admitted stamping which was accepted as reckless to the point of contact. I found the breach was clear on the evidence as the player paused and lifted his leg high, before applying a vertical stamp to the groin area, for which he had no tenable excuse or explanation. Crusaders’ Number 6 suffered minor grazing but was able to play on. Had injury of any consequence resulted, then the entry point for sanction would have been at least mid-range. The player has good disciplinary record and thus is entitled to a discount of one week from the two-week lower-end entry point, which results in a suspension of one week, up to and including Sunday 22 February 2015.”
Meanwhile, there will be no further action against James Horwill. The Reds lock was shown a red card in the Super Rugby match against the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday. Davidson was also the Duty Judicial Officer for this hearing and determined that no further sanction will be imposed upon Horwill.
Davidson said, “While no further sanction has been imposed, this is a warning to players and teams that the judiciary regards team warnings as a responsibility for all players to heed. The player knew of the general warning for breaches at the breakdown, then transgressed in the form of a technical infringement. He was off the field when the second general warning was given by the referee for infringing at the maul, but then re-offended upon his return. Regulation 17 does not require a sanction, but it may be imposed in the exercise of discretion, without a stipulated entry level. The Law is intended to reinforce the need for discipline when the referees direct their concern about repeated infringements. In this instance, the team paid a price in points scored during the period of the sin-binnings and I am satisfied the player was not aware of the second warning. This needs to be highlighted as players coming to and from the field so often may not know of the general warning. The captains and off-field team personnel must bear some responsibility to communicate these warnings. Horwill has a good disciplinary record and the breaches were not of such character, for example foul play, as to require sanction in this case.”