New Zealand Rugby Duty Judicial Officer (DJO) Chris Morris has accepted a guilty plea from Hawke’s Bay player Zac Guildford who was cited for a lifting tackle which contravened law 10.4(j), in an ITM Cup match last week.
The incident occurred in the 58th minute of the match between Hawke’s Bay and Counties Manukau that was played in Pukekohe on Friday 28 August. Hawke’s Bay won the match 35-11.
A tackle that ends with a player lifted and then dropped to the ground with their head and/or upper body coming into contact with the ground first is considered particularly dangerous due to the risk of serious injury to the tackled player.
Guildford acknowledged his actions were a breach of the law and he accepted his wrongdoing.
Mr Morris indicated a low end entry point and, in line with SANZAR decisions this season, added two weeks as a deterrent to these tackles before offering a two week discount after taking into account the player’s remorse, admission of responsibility and clean on-field judicial record when considering the sanction.
Guildford has been suspended from all forms of the game for four weeks up to, and including, Thursday 24 September 2015.
This means that he will miss Hawke’s Bay’s next four ITM Cup matches against North Harbour (5 September), Canterbury (12 September), Bay of Plenty (19 September) and Auckland (24 September).
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 Judicial Officer.