A controversial one-week suspension for New Zealand rugby forward Adam Thomson following a kick to the head of Scotland flanker Alastair Strokosch took a dramatic new twist today.
Soon after the judgment was handed down by an International Rugby Board disciplinary panel, headed by Frenchman Jean-Noel Couraud and stating that it had taken into account “the player’s conduct at the hearing” at a citing into an “alleged stamp or tramp”, IRB chief executive Brett Gosper stepped in.
Writing on social media he said: “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.”
Predictably, Gosper’s remarks have provoked outcry in sections of the kiwi media who are now proclaiming a witch-hunt against the team.
Meanwhile, Scotland coach Andy Robinson has left hooker Ross Ford in no doubt his international place at the start of a Lions season will be on the line when South Africa are encountered at Murrayfield in Saturday’s EMC Autumn Test.
Eyebrows will have been raised that understudy Scott Lawson, a second-half substitute against the All Blacks, has been dropped, Robinson taking into account Ford’s outstanding track record.
Robinson said: “I am giving Ross an opportunity . . . to show what he can do. Ross was good last week with his carrying and the physicality he bought to the contact area. Where he was disappointed was in his defence and with a couple of throws, but he has to step up this weekend and perform.”
Scotland: Hogg, S Lamont, De Luca, Scott, Visser, Laidlaw, Blair, Grant, Ford, Murray, Gray, Hamilton, Strokosch, Denton, Brown (captain). Subs: Hall, Traynor, Cross, Kellock, Barclay, Pyrgos, Jackson, Murchie.
South Africa: Kirchner, Pietersen, De Jongh, De Villiers (captain), Hougard, Lambie, Pienaar, Steenkamp, Strauss, Du Plessis, Etzebeth, Kruger, Louw, Vermeulen, Alberts. Subs: Brits, H van der Merwe, Van der Linde, F van der Merwe, Coetzee, Steyn, Taute. Mvovo.