Messam given the all clear
Cape Town - A SANZAR Judicial Hearing has found Chiefs flank Liam Messam guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (m) Acts contrary to good sportsmanship, after he was cited following a Super Rugby match at the weekend, but no sanction has been imposed on the player.
The incident occurred in the 18th minute of the Super Rugby match between the Sharks and Chiefs at Kings Park in Durban on March 21, 2015.
The SANZAR Judicial Hearing was heard by Jannie Lubbe SC.
In his finding, Lubbe ruled the following:
"I reviewed the video footage, the Citing Commissioner's report and heard submissions from the player's counsel, Mr Aaron Lloyd, Chiefs' head coach, Dave Rennie and the player himself. The original charge of a breach of Law 10.4 (e) Dangerous Tackling was amended to a breach of Law 10.4 (m) Acts contrary to good sportsmanship. Amending a charge during the course of a hearing is a power allowed to Judicial Officers by the SANZAR Judicial Rules.
"Mr Lloyd did not object to the amendment and Mr Messam then pleaded guilty to the amended charge. I found the entry point to be at the lower end and after careful consideration of possible mitigating and aggravating features involved, the player's exemplary disciplinary record across a lengthy career including 134 Super Rugby matches and 42 Test matches for the All Blacks, I concluded that no further sanction should be imposed as a suspension would be wholly disproportionate to the level of offending involved in this case.
"From the video footage, it is clear that the tackle was initially legal. The right arm then slipped around the neck of Sharks' No 7 after they went to ground and holding on to the tackled player around his neck in such a manner puts the player in a vulnerable position.
"On the particular facts of this matter and without setting a precedent for these type of actions, it would be wholly disproportionate to the level and type of offending involved to impose a sanction on the player.
"Therefore, the player is found to be guilty of Law 10.4 (m) and no sanction is imposed on the player."
SANZAR Judicial Rules 9.3
In cases involving offending which has been classified as low end pursuant to Rule 9.4 where there are off-field mitigating factors and the Judicial Officer or Duty Judicial Officer considers that the sanction would be wholly disproportionate to the level and type of offending involved, the Judicial Officer or Duty Judicial Officer may impose less than 50% of the low end sanction including in appropriate cases no sanction.
World Rugby Regulation 17.19.7
In cases involving offending that has been classified pursuant to Regulation 17.19.2 as lower end offending, where:
(a) there are off-field mitigating factors; and
(b) where the Disciplinary Committee or Judicial Officer considers that the sanction would be wholly disproportionate to the level and type of offending involved; the Disciplinary Committee or Judicial Officer may apply sanctions less than 50% of the lower end entry sanctions specified in Appendix 1 including in appropriate cases no sanction.