By Lee Stace
SANZAR NEEDS to re-think its disciplinary procedures and rules following the recent suspensions handed to Chiefs wing Maritino Nemani and Blues loose forward Steven Luatua this week.
Nemani and Luatua both received three-week suspensions for tip-tackles during their sides’ clash at North Harbour Stadium last weekend.
There was nothing wrong with their punishments. They were fair and just.
Where the problem lies is that neither of them will miss a single game of importance as the period of their bans occurs at the same time as Super Rugby is on hiatus.
Because both will not play in the June internationals and have also been overlooked for the North-South match in Dunedin this Sunday, it means the duo has effectively escaped serious punishment.
That is simply not good enough. If a player commits a sin on the field, then surely he and his side should cop a penalty, right?
The fact Nemani and Luatua’s bans coincide with a break in Super Rugby means they will be free to play for their respective sides when the competition resumes on June 29.
Of course, this is not the first time something like this has happened.
Earlier this season flanker Luke Braid was handed a three-week suspension, yet only missed two games because the Blues had a bye during his time sitting in the ‘naughty corner’.
Perhaps it is time SANZAR imposes suspensions that sees players miss matches instead of spending weeks on the sideline.
Something has to change because the current disciplinary model is clearly flawed.
With the series level, expect both teams to put it all on the line as they seek to win the deciding test in Sydney on Saturday night.