Kane Hames (Highlander) was suspended for 5 weeks for punching a Crusader, Owen Franks (Crusaders) was suspended for 2 weeks for "punching" a Highlander and Hayden Triggs (Blues) was suspended for 1 week for a Stormer. All three cases were assessed by same duty judicial officer, Robert Stelzner SC. From what I can gather all three pleaded guilty, expressed remorse and had similar clean records to date.
So why the huge difference in sentencing ?
Having watched two of these incidents myself, the Hayden Triggs one was (IMHO) way worse .. it was off the ball, away from play and deliberately targeting the players head with, not one, but two punches. The Owen Franks incident was at a ruck, near the ball and wasn't a punch but more of a shoulder slam. I did not see the Kane Hames incident myself but heard that it was also near the ball at a ruck.
The huge difference in the sentencing makes any sense to me. Are we to conclude that the sentence is greater if the victim is a NZ player, or, even worse, that the sentence is not so severe if the victim is a SA player. I don't know why sentences are not set down in black and white. For example; if you plead guilty or are found guilty of "punching" (Rule 10.4 a), the sentence is "suspension from 3 matches at the same level of rugby (i.e. Super Rugby, International). Forget about if you were yellow carded or red carded - that is merely a penalty for the rest of your team, not the player who committed the offence. The players can then use their lawyers to argue regarding being found guilty or not but once convicted, the pre-set sentence kicks in. Easy as .. no confusion.
Looking at the sentences handed out for these three incidents, it's understandable why a lot of SA fans feel their teams continually get the rough end of the stick.
Mr Robert Stelzner / SANZAR ... can you please explain ?