November 22, 2012
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IRB to appeal 'unduly lenient' Thomson ban

The International Rugby Board (IRB) said Wednesday it would appeal against the "unduly lenient" one-week ban handed down to New Zealand's Adam Thomson for stamping on Scotland's Alasdair Strokosch.

Thomson, yellow-carded during the world champions' 51-22 win over Scotland at Murrayfield on November 11, was subsequently cited for stamping on Strokosch.

But despite independent IRB judicial officer Jean-Noel Couraud finding him guilty of an offence at a hearing in London last Wednesday, the Frenchman imposed a ban of just one week.

However, the global governing body can initiate an appeal under a revised regulation in its own rule-book which took effect on June 1.

An IRB statement issued Wednesday said: "The International Rugby Board has confirmed that it will appeal what it strongly believes to be an unduly lenient sanction handed down to New Zealand forward Adam Thomson for stamping or trampling on the head of an opponent.

"As custodians of rugby worldwide, the IRB has a duty to protect its image, values and integrity together with the welfare of players at all levels in order that the sport can continue its unprecedented growth and welcome more men, women and children to the rugby family.

"The IRB strongly believes that the sanction of one week is unduly lenient for this particular act of foul play and not aligned with the sanctions handed down in similar cases."

As for the timing of the appeal tribunal, the IRB said: "The logistical arrangements for the hearing will be announced shortly."

Scotland coach Andy Robinson suggested after the match that Thomson had been fortunate to escape a red card.

Thomson's ban meant he missed last Saturday's 42-10 win over Italy in Rome. However, as things stand, he id available for this Saturday's Test against Wales in Cardiff.

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen is due to announce his side to play Wales on Thursday, with the All Blacks concluding their tour against England at Twickenham on December 1.

Former England hooker Brian Moore, in language not far removed from the IRB's own words this Wednesday (November 21), reacted to Thomson's suspension by labelling it "ludicrously lenient".

As pundits and Twitter commentators reacted against Couraud's ruling last Wednesday, IRB chief executive Brett Gosper reacted by using the social networking site to say: "The IRB will review this case as it is a match under our jurisdiction.

"If we decide to take action we will make it public," the Australian, who took up his post in June, added.

Meanwhile, in a separate development, the Six Nations Committee -- which oversees disciplinary matters for the IRB during the European autumn series -- announced Australia lock Rob Simmons had lodged an appeal against an eight-week ban for a dangerous "tip tackle" on France flanker Yannick Nyanga

The incident took place during the Wallabies' 33-6 defeat in Paris on November 10.

Simmons' appeal will be heard by a three-man, IRB-appointed committee, with a date to be announced.

Australia play Italy in Florence on Saturday.

AFP

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