Johannesburg - Questions have surfaced again about the SANZAR citing system after Hurricanes midfielder Ma’a Nonu escaped a citing for his spear tackle on Cheetahs captain Juan Smith during the Vodacom Super 14 match between the two sides in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Nonu upended Smith during the match and received a yellow card for the tackle, which touch judge Jonathan Kaplan described on television as “at least a yellow card”.
Yet despite a citing being the norm for spear tackles, a South African citing commissioner, Andy Prior, decided there was no cause for a citing to take place and therefore Nonu is free to face the Stormers this coming weekend in Cape Town.
Regular South African citing commissioner Freek Burger was unavailable this weekend and Prior stood in for him, but while a number of South Africans in the past have been cited for lesser offences, Nonu’s tackle has been overlooked by the disciplinary process, creating a dangerous precident.
“We received our report from Andy Prior, and there were no citings from the game,” SARU legal advisor Christo Ferreira told Supersport.com.
Referees have been trying to root the tackle out of the game, and have been very strict on any player who commits such an offence. Refs have been told that in the case of a spear tackle, they are to start at red, and then look for mitigating circumstances to lessen the punishment.
* Meanwhile in other disciplinary news, Chiefs prop Arizona Taumalolo has escaped further punishment for his late and dangerous tackle on Quade Cooper during the match between the Chiefs and Reds in Hamilton this weekend.
According to a Sanzar statement, Taumalolo “was found guilty of making a dangerous tackle on Quade Cooper during his team's 18-23 loss to the Reds in Hamilton last Friday.
“However, no censure was imposed by Sanzar judicial officer Peter Hobbs after a hearing in Wellington today. Hobbs decided that while Taumalolo's tackle breached the laws of the game, his overall culpability did not warrant any further penalty.”