The SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Robert Stelzner SC has accepted a guilty plea from Reggie Goodes of the Hurricanes for contravening 10.4 (h) Dangerous Charging, after he was cited following a Super Rugby match at the weekend. Goodes has been suspended from all forms of the game for one week up to and including Saturday 23 May 2015. The incident occurred in the 36th minute of the Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and Chiefs at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on 16 May 2015.
SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Robert Stelzner SC assessed the case. In his finding, Stelzner ruled the following: ‘I reviewed footage of the incident from different angles, still images of the incident that were relevant to what occurred and a medical report detailing the injury to the Chiefs player, Michael Allardice. I heard submissions made by Mr Aaron Lloyd on behalf of the player admitting the breach of the law as charged and what it was he was attempting do when he committed the offence. Goodes entered the breakdown intending to bind with his left arm on to the Chiefs player in order to clear him out and away from the ball. However, split seconds before making contact, the player slightly changed his position so that he bent further down towards the ball and moved slightly away from Goodes. This resulted in Goodes missing his intended point of contact on the upper body of his opponent and instead made contact with the knee. The different point of contact meant Goodes did not bind or grasp his opponent when making contact. Goodes submitted that it was not his intention to strike his opponent on the knee, but to grab him around his shoulder to remove him from his position over the ball. The incident occurred in a matter of seconds and the actions involved from both players resulted in the changed point of impact from upper body as intended to the knee. The video and still images support this submission. The action resulted in a serious injury to his opponent which was possibly aggravated by the action of another Hurricanes player, Ben Franks, who attempted to clean out Allardice at the same time from the other side of the breakdown. The offending was a lower end breach of Law 10.4 (h) and was not intentional or deliberate in my view. The player should have been aware of the possibility of not being able to bind onto his opponent properly given their body position and there was an element of recklessness involved in the manner with which the clean out was attempted, but there was not a reckless disregard for the other player’s safety. This was a clean out that started as a legitimate attempt and went wrong in a matter of seconds with unfortunate consequences which the impact of another player may have contributed to. I found there to be no aggravating factors to be taken into account. Mitigating factors that I took into account include the player’s good record, his culpability and full cooperation and making concessions where required for his actions in committing the breach and the remorse he expressed at the fact his opponent had been injured. As a result of these mitigating factors, I reduced the suspension by 50 per cent to a one week suspension which was accepted by the player. Therefore, the player is suspended from all forms of rugby up to and including 23 May 2015.’
All SANZAR disciplinary matters are in the first instance referred to a Duty Judicial Officer hearing to provide the option of expediting the judicial process. For a matter to be dispensed with at this hearing, the person appearing must plead guilty and accept the penalty offered by the DJO.