Bay of Plenty’s Culum Retallick, Auckland’s Michael Fatialofa and Tasman’s Liam Squire who were cited for foul play during Week Six ITM Cup matches have each been suspended following separate judicial hearings this week. Waikato’s Ben Tameifuna was suspended for one week following a third yellow card this season received on Wednesday night in a Week Seven match.
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) Duty Judicial Officer (DJO) Roger Drummond has accepted a guilty plea from Bay of Plenty lock Culum Retallick who was cited for contravening law 10.4(j) Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving them down, in an ITM Cup match on Saturday 19 September.
The incident occurred in the 62nd minute of the match between Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay. Home team Hawke’s Bay won the match 23-17 and in doing so, held on to the Ranfurly Shield.
Retallick acknowledged his actions were a breach of the law.
Drummond found this to be a Low-Range offence with an indicative starting point of a four week suspension. However, after finding no aggravating or mitigating factors needing to be taken into account and considering submissions made by the player’s representatives, he reduced the four week sanction to instead cover the next two games to be played by Bay of Plenty.
Retallick has been suspended from all forms of rugby for two games, up to and including 4 October 2015. This means he will miss Bay of Plenty’s next two ITM Cup matches in Week 7 & Week 8 against Northland tonight and Wellington on Sunday 4 October
Two players who were cited during the Tasman v Auckland ITM Cup match on Sunday 20 September have also been suspended.
Auckland lock Michael Fatialofa was cited for contravening law 10.4(g) Dangerous Charging.
The incident occurred in the 30th minute of the match that was played in Blenheim on Sunday evening. Auckland won the match 28-19.
The matter was initially heard by the DJO, Helen Morgan, on Tuesday 22nd September with the player not accepting the preliminary indication of penalty. A full hearing was then convened on Wednesday 23rd September, overseen by Judicial Officer (JO) Roger Drummond. Drummond determined this to be a Low-Range offence with a starting point of two weeks which he reduced to a one week suspension as there were no aggravating factors, and his clean judicial record was the mitigating factor.
The player and his representatives exercised their right of appeal with the NZR Appeal Council hearing the matter on Thursday 24 September.
The Fatialofa appeal of a one week suspension was dismissed late yesterday and consequently he could not play in last night’s match against Hawke’s Bay.
Tasman loose forward Liam Squire was also cited during the same match for contravening law 10.4(a) Punching and Striking.
New Zealand Rugby DJO Helen Morgan accepted a guilty plea from Squire for the incident which occurred in the 47th minute of the game.
Morgan found the incident to be a low range offence with a starting point of two weeks, but with there being no aggravating factors and some mitigating factors, a 50 percent reduction was allowed to come to an indicative penalty of one week.
Squire has been suspended from all forms of rugby for one week. This means he will miss Tasman’s match on Saturday against Counties Manukau.
Waikato prop Ben Tameifuna received a yellow card on Wednesday 23 September, in the Week Seven Canterbury v Waikato ITM Cup match, for a breach of Law 10.4(a), striking with the hand. This took Tameifuna’s Temporary Suspension/Yellow Card tally to three.
As per section 173 of “The Black Book” New Zealand Rugby Disciplinary Rules 2015, a player temporarily suspended on three occasions or having a total of three Temporary Suspensions and/or Citing Commissioner Warnings or any combination thereof, during the same playing season in any match for which the NZR has jurisdiction shall be required to appear before a JO. The purpose of the hearing is to consider whether any penalty (over and above the Temporary Suspension or Citing Commissioner Warnings) shall be imposed on him because of his persistent offending.
NZR DJO Nigel Hampton QC found that the cumulative effect of the three offences should be dealt with by way of a period of suspension and accordingly suspended the player for one week.
As a result, Tameifuna is suspended from all rugby for one week, up to and including Sunday 27 September 2015. This means he will miss Waikato’s next match against Wellington on 27 September 2015.
This season, ITM Cup on-field disciplinary matters are in the first instance referred to an appointed DJO to allow the option of expediting the judicial process.
For a matter to be dispensed with at this early stage, the person appearing must plead guilty and accept the penalty indicated by the DJO. If the player does not accept the charge or the indication, then the matter is referred to a full hearing with another JO.