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.
Thomson was suspended for one week after Independent Judicial Officer Jean Noel Couraud upheld the citing complaint for an alleged act of illegal and/or foul play contrary to Law 10.4(b) during the Scotland versus New Zealand match on November 11, 2012. The hearing process was run under the auspices of the Six Nations Committee.
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.
At the very heart of this mission is the universal application of the disciplinary process as set out in Regulation 17. This IRB Disciplinary regulation is intended to protect all players and the Game through the strict application of a sanctioning regime that acts as a strong deterrent against acts of foul play.
This stance was reaffirmed by leading international players, coaches, referees and administrators attending the IRB Morality Conference in London in March this year who unanimously agreed that a tough and consistent stance on discipline is key to Rugby's integrity.
After careful consideration and having reviewed the full written decision in the Thomson case well within the permitted 72 hours of receipt, 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.
The IRB firmly believes it is in the best interests of the Game and its integrity to exercise its ability to appeal the Thomson decision. The right of appeal by the IRB (in defined circumstances) and for Host Unions and tournament organisers was introduced into the revised Regulation 17 effective on June 1 this year to uphold the integrity of the disciplinary process in appropriate cases.
The logistical arrangements for the hearing will be announced shortly. For queries relating to the appeals process please contact the Six Nations Committee.
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