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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Brad Thorn gets one week suspension for spear on Smit

Brad Thorn gets one week suspension for spear on Smit

Brad Thorn has been banned for one week and will miss New Zealand's second Tri-Nations Test against South Africa next weekend. The 33-year-old lock was cited by citing commissioner Tim Harland for a tackle he made on South African hooker John Smit in the sixth minute of Saturday's 19-8 Tri-Nations win in Wellington.

After slight provocation by Smit, Thorn picked him up and dropped him on the ground after the whistle, sparking a mass brawl which oddly enough saw no punches thrown or more importantly, landed.

Miraculously, referee Stuart Dickinson only penalised Thorn, opting not to give him a yellow or red card, which judging by their reactions, was a pleasant surprise for both Thorn and captain Rodney Sooialo.

Smit later left the field with a groin injury which he said developed after he was treated "like a tent peg."

Thorn was later cited by the match commissioner, and not by the Springboks.
"Mr Wheelahan (SANZAR judicial officer) said the conduct was an act contrary to good sportsmanship rather than a dangerous tackle," New Zealand Rugby Union said in a statement.

"After taking all matters into account, including Thorn's previously excellent record as well as the sanction guidelines prescribed in the IRB Regulations, Mr Wheelahan imposed a suspension of one week."

After the Test, Smit described the tackle as a "heat of the moment" incident and said Thorn had immediately apologised.

"It's part and parcel with any combative situation between All Blacks and Springboks," the Springbok captain and hooker said.

"The first thing he did was come and say sorry and that it was unnecessary. There are no personal issues with things like that."

Anthony Boric is likely to be Thorn's replacement for next week's Test in Dunedin.


:: Related Posts ::
All Blacks beat Springboks in Tri Nations opener

Posted at 11:47 am | 71 comments

Viewing 71 comments

alasdair July 06, 2008 10:43 am

right in front of the south african pack... it takes either balls or stupidity.

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Sean July 06, 2008 10:44 am

Stupid by Brad, should have kept his head. Still, it wasn't that bad, I wouldn't call it a spear as technically he landed on his upper back rather than neck or head so a penalty was most likely the right outcome, no yellow. Nice to see him apologies straight away, sportsmanship is always welcome.

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Remy July 06, 2008 10:44 am

it should have been a yellow card!

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Tyler July 06, 2008 11:01 am

although he didn't land on his head or neck, it was still a stupid thing to do. whether anything was said or not it is unneccessary, and a yellow would have been in order

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martin July 06, 2008 11:03 am

Should hav been yellow, the officials not having the best of games. Why did they go 2 a replay for habanna's try? Thorn was stupid and Smit could have done alot of damage cos he is very heavy. Usually it is backs under 100kg the get speared and Smit is about 115kg, it could have been very nasty.

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martin July 06, 2008 11:05 am

He has been cited for dangerous play. He has not got away with it.

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Ben July 06, 2008 11:06 am

That was Dangerous, and stupid!It was definitly good sportsmanship of Brad to apologise though it's true. But i hate the fact one of the NZ subs was laughing as the events went on. Thats just awful.

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Anonymous July 06, 2008 11:15 am

To Ben...that was actually a South African sub that was laughing.

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dmprfc14 July 06, 2008 11:15 am

What was up with Steyn that day? having a sly giggle at the Haka, and then another chuckle at his captain getting speared! bit odd?

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Anonymous July 06, 2008 11:19 am

I really like John Smit's positive response to the incident, that's class.

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Benson July 06, 2008 11:21 am

I'd love to hear what Stu the D*ck has to say, cos that was terrible of him to not yellow Thorn, especially as it happened right in front of him and after the whistle. Thorn and Rodney looked like they'd just got away with murder! lol

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felix July 06, 2008 11:32 am

yeah brad was definitely expecting a yellow. he's been banned for a week though and won't be able to play in Dunedin in front of lots of his family. smit took it like a man but he deserved it for giving thorn aggro

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Benson July 06, 2008 11:39 am

He deserved it??! For a push on the back of the head?? Come on man that's ridiculous. If Thorn had pushed him back, in the same way, then yes he deserved that, but not to be picked up and dumped like that! You're viewing this one eyed Felix. Step away and think about it as if you were a neutral. :) Imagine if everyone went around doing that after they were pushed or provoked on the rugby field. lol Would be fun to watch if nothing else! ;)

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Sharky July 06, 2008 11:44 am

Steyn is clearly on drugs. The giggling, that hairstyle, and then the 56m drop goal attempt that almost went over.

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felix July 06, 2008 11:53 am

yeah he didn't deserve it for the little push but he did deserve it for trying on with one of the true hard men of world rugby. you just don't mess with brad and that's why. he won't do it again. i'm glad brad got banned for a week though because it's not acceptable behaviour. trying to be as neutral as possible here!

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alasdair July 06, 2008 12:47 pm

Is he laughing at the Haka? Is he laughing at the incident? We see but but do not hear! Who knows what was being said? And I smiled when I saw the incident(maybe I'm twisted) can't see why he can't.

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Anonymous July 06, 2008 1:49 pm

It doesn't matter what way he landed. The fact is that he tried to drop him on his head. It is an incredibly dangerous thing to do and could easily lead to paralysis or death. By giving this guy a ONE WEEK BAN, they are not highlighting the the potential dangers. He should be banned for 6 months at least.

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Cotton July 06, 2008 1:54 pm

Well, for me the shocking decision wasnt the duration of the ban , was the referee giving no card, that was BS.

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MerckZ July 06, 2008 2:29 pm

One week? That's absurd! It was off the ball and dangerous as hell.If it had been Schalk or any South African for that matter it would have been six weeks at least. Dickinson saw the incident, he just pretended not to as he didn't want to resort to cards early on in a test match. It takes away from the grandeur of the occasion apparently. BS - I usually like Brad Thorn, but he should have been yellow carded there at the very least.Smit didn't provoke him either, Thorn went in on Jantjes with a leading elbow, which Smit objected to.

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MerckZ July 06, 2008 2:39 pm

On the Frans Steyn thing, he wasn't laughing at the Haka, he was just in awe of it all and clearly just a young boy enjoying the experience. The laughing at Smit being used as a tent peg is also excused by his years.But agreed, his hair is ridiculous - but it's a ploy, he looks like a sheep, so he'll distract the New Zealanders. Like getting a hot bird to flash any other team. Just "baah" and wag that wooly mane, that'll get their attention off the pill.

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felix July 06, 2008 2:42 pm

i've been watching it over and merckz could be right here, it does look a bit like thorn's elbow contacts janjes but it's hard to really tell. if he did then its probably something he picked up in rugby league!anyway it wasn't a spear and he didnt try to land him on his neck or head. to me it looks like e deliberately landed him on his back. he's not trying to do lasting damage to smit. even the officials agreed - you can hear them saying he picked him up and dropped him on his back (a spear is pick up, twist, drive in to the ground head first) totally different in terms of malice and potential damage.

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ulster_heroes July 06, 2008 2:51 pm

the kiwis seem to have a knack for getting away with illegal spear-tackles on their home turf. noteably when its on the opposition's captain....

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cant remember my goo July 06, 2008 3:39 pm

It would appear no one is going to agree about this video, yeh it was daft and he admitted it, but at the end of the day he was provoked, the referee saw Smit provoking him and said "no no two!" and so i think the referee though a penalty was probably all that should suffice. Anyway referee's call, he was cited for what to be honest seemed to be very unlike a spear...but...obviously they saw something.Interesting clip, havent seen stuff erupting like that for a while (i dont watch many french club games so i suppose i miss out on them a lot!)

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Anonymous July 06, 2008 3:42 pm

where is the sin bin?

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Benson July 06, 2008 3:42 pm

lol @ ulster_heroes. well spotted ;)As far as I'm concerned, a spear is when you hips are lifted above your shoulder and you're not brought to ground safely. The fact that Smit landed on his back was more luck than anything.Felix, I'm impressed that you're trying so hard to look at it impartially. I know it must be killing you. lolMercz.. I wonder if there will be any rape allegations from this tour, coming from Steyn! ;)

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I meant google passw July 06, 2008 3:42 pm

Oh yeh just another thing to add....isnt a spear tackle when you lift a player up off the ground, turn him then drive him into the ground?!?!and when you lift a player up in the air turn him then let him go its just a dangerous tackle?!?am i wrong?

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Sharky July 06, 2008 3:52 pm

I guess the definition of the word 'spear' is different to some, as it's become a casually used term. It's more about dangerous play probably. 'The act of lifting an opponent off his feet in a tackle AND dropping orspearing that player so that his head and/or upper body comes intocontact with the ground first, is a dangerous tackle.'So dropping or spearing is in the same sentence, as described by lifting a player up and dropping him, with contact of the upper body coming into contact with the ground first. Technical mumbo jumbo, but hey, dangerous is dangerous.

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Alex July 06, 2008 5:48 pm

yellow or red card - late, intentionaly, raising the player and not bringin him down safely.Dickinsons control was appauling.

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Anonymous July 06, 2008 6:09 pm

officials always go easy on the All Blacks, should've been redded and copped a longer ban just like Umaga

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felix July 06, 2008 7:25 pm

the officials didn't go too easy on the all blacks against france in the world cup. seriously i can't believe anyone really thinks some teams get preferential treatment from referees. And oh my god BOD got over it years ago, so should everyone else. take a leaf out of smit' book - thorn said sorry, smit said no worries, the end.

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Rancid July 06, 2008 7:25 pm

Can't believe someone replied saying 6 months.It was dangerous, but wasn't really a spear tackle.

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Anonymous July 06, 2008 7:26 pm

no rely a spear tackle when he lands on his back rely.... unless they decided to call any tackle when a all black dumps u a spear

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Don July 06, 2008 11:41 pm

Very unnecessary and stupid.

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Cheis July 06, 2008 11:58 pm

doesn't matter it was not a spear, it was way after the wistle!!!shouldve been more than one week!!!hope bakkies got a few handbags in!! Thorn is a tool

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MrClutchCLEVERismyhe July 07, 2008 2:57 am

You can see black 4, after the tackle on green 15, he slams his right elbow on him, twat!

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Simon July 07, 2008 4:15 am

My couple of cents (disclosure: I am an All Blacks fan):I am a big fan of Brad Thorn and believe he is an honest and fair but brutally hard player. However, I was disappointed by that tackle on Smith. Very little provocation, particularly after he dived over the player and ball with no attempt to keep his feet. Brad showed his class after he apologised a number of times afterwards to Smith. As for the tackle, he certainly turned him horizontal and dropped him so that he fell on his back, this being a "dangerous tackle" as contained within the definition provided by Sharky above. However, as pointed out, no attempt to spear him (despite Smith's comments after the game), with very little potential for injury as he ensured that he dropped him on his back. I think it was certainly at the lower end of the scale of dangerous tackles, but was a penalty all the same.As for his punishment, I am of the opinion that, given that it was dangerous, and also given that it occurred outside of general play and after the whistle, a yellow card ought to have been given. Had this been done, a 1 match ban would have been too much, but because there was no yellow, the one match ban is sufficient.As for allegations of biased refereeing towards NZ, I believe, and perhaps with the exception of this dangerous tackle here, the refs made a number of decisions in favour of SA to the prejudice of NZ:1. late hits on Dan Carter by Butch James;2. no yellow card for professional foul by tackling Leon MacDonald w/o the ball (only penalty);3. constant infringing around the rucks, particularly Bakkes Botha (sp?).All in all, referees did alright.

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Hard Man July 07, 2008 6:24 am

Some of you guys need to grow some balls... its rugby after all not netball! i was pretty impressed how Thorn man-handled Smit.

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Anonymous July 07, 2008 7:30 am

What about Butch James????Can't he be suspended as well for his dirty play all over the game????His only goal was to hit hard and injury Carter....

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Anonymous July 07, 2008 7:54 am

"Some of you guys need to grow some balls... its rugby after all not netball! i was pretty impressed how Thorn man-handled Smit." (Hardman)In the same vein I'm impressed the way Butch handled Carter - more late and hard tackles are required, after all its rugby not netball lol

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Sean July 07, 2008 10:20 am

I'd just like to say in response to my earlier comment (the 2nd one) that after reading the rules regarding dangerous tackles that tackle was more illegal than i first thought and so should have been a yellow. Wasn't a spear as such, but still dangerous and maybe a 2/3 week ban would have been appropriate, but no longer than that

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TheFullback July 07, 2008 11:41 am

Ahh well he said sorry, fair play 2 him in that regard

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nick July 07, 2008 12:07 pm

NOT a dangerous tackle, just give him a little warning there are becoming too many so called dangerous tackes due too overly strict refereeing , it was a good hit !!!!!!

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Sharky July 07, 2008 12:25 pm

I think the fact that John Smit is going home with a groin injury from this tackle pretty much proves that it was a dangerous tackle, whether it was an actual spear or not. So the AB's will miss a lock for one match and the Springboks will miss their Captain and number one hooker for two matches. Easy to see who got the better rub of the green on this one. Sad for Smit, and the team.

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Andy July 07, 2008 1:06 pm

should be shot not suspended for a week.

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zulu July 07, 2008 6:26 pm

The fact is the tackle occured after the whistle and John did not even have the ball. defenitly yellow. What was the ref on about reversing the penalty.

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Simon July 08, 2008 1:15 am

Sharky,Whilst not wanting to label Smith a liar, I am not convinced that the groin injury had anything to do with the alleged spear tackle:1. he landed on his back/side;2. he got up afterwards and displayed no pain from a sore groin until after play continued;3. 99% of all groin injuries are the result of overextension / twisting, this not being the case with the tackle.I believe the groin injury was just bad luck for Smith, and attributing it to the tackle was just a result of annoyance that Thorn hadn't been yellow carded.

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Simon July 08, 2008 1:17 am

Also Sharky,(and in any event) One does not look at the result of a tackle to determine whether it was a dangerous or not, but rather at the tackle itself. Whether substantial damage results or not is irrelevant.S

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Anonymous July 08, 2008 3:40 am

SA will definatly miss his leadership, but Brits wont let his team/country down if picked... he's a really good player that would prob make any other national side in the world including NZ/AUS.

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felix July 08, 2008 1:54 pm

why doesn't kuun get picked? he had a really good super 14...

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Sharky July 08, 2008 3:31 pm

Simon, what you're saying IS actually labelling Smit (not Smith) a liar. Injuries can occur in strange ways. I read somewhere else that it was some groin injury related to the hip abductor. I have no idea what they means, but I tend to believe it. Although South African's may have a bad rep around the world with some, John Smit is an extremely honest and down to earth man. He's captained every team he's ever played for, and is well respected by anyone who's ever met him. My point being that I don't think he would lie about this. To me it makes sense that he showed no pain until after play continued, it's logical. It may have happened when being lifted up like that.. I'm not a doctor/physio etc so I couldn't tell you unfortunately. Dangerous is dangerous though surely? He's injured from it, so it was dangerous. Lifting a man who's 115kg and dumping him on his back or wherever is likely to cos injury of some sort. I see your point but see mine - it injured him, therefore it was dangerous. :)Felix.. I don't think Kuun is big enough to be honest. Converted flanker, he doesn't have the bulk needed. Neither does Brits, but Brits is dynamic around the park.

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durrie July 08, 2008 3:50 pm

"...Referee Stuart Dickinson has admitted that he wouldve given Brad Thorn a yellow card for the tackle on John Smit if his view wasnt obscured...The assistant referees view was also obscured. He saw Smit go up and come down but he did not see him land....www.Keo.co.za"What a load of old toss...Dickenson was about 1.5m away with not a soul between him and the incident. He practically never took his eye's off Thorn as he proceeded to lift and then drop Smit...as for the other muppet touch judge with selective sight lets not even go there...The issue here is not about the type of tackle...it was off the ball retaliatry foul play after the wistle - Thorn is counting his lucky stars BIG TIME for what he recieved and if he isn't he should be.I can't hear the three refs on the field discussing and didn't see the first half - was the video ref involved...?

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Greiffel July 08, 2008 8:10 pm

Yeah not sure how he missed it. As you can see in the video, and this pic, he's right there! lolSomeone get Stu some glasses

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Anonymous July 09, 2008 11:45 am

I am an all blacks supporter...with a sth african partner. i was surprised thorne didn't get a yellow. he was provoked, not that that justifies his actions. it was dangerous and after the whistle. it was dissapointing to see thorne react like that, but i'm sure he will learn from this. i think a one week ban is fair, maybe two would have been appropriate. six months??? what a dreamer. i aggree with simon. i think the ref made bad calls both ways. there were a lot (not just 1 or 2) of late hits, high hits, players taken out and being held back without the ball by sa. all also yellow card offences. and also, the try ruled offside??? no one mentions that when they complain about bias reffing. upon replay's you can see kaino is clearly 2-3 meters on side. but at the end of the day the ref is human and makes mistakes. cardiff for example. it was good to see thorne apologise, and also take his punishment on the chin. i am a fan of john smit, he has good leadership and is quite a hard and fair player, but i have my doubts on the groin injury being related, considering it was about 20mins after the tackle that he came off. also what is with him accepting thorne's apology on the field and after the game and then four days later(two days after the suspension) say "One almost gets the idea that anyone who is not from New Zealand does not have the same rights as someone who plays for the All Blacks". perhaps a little bit of pre 2nd match politics involved...and the pdv complaining about the scrum. more politics? i'm sure the sa boys aren't dumb enough not to react and counter this during the game and do the same thing(if anything at all). both teams have the same ref.pdv, merely a puppet. watch him in the changing room at half time. he'll be the one sitting in the corner while his "assistants" do all the coaching...roll on dunedin. lets hope it's dry. open. and clean. by both teams. we are the two best teams in the world(sa world champs, nz ranked world #1).p.s. f the northern hemisphere.

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Brent July 09, 2008 12:19 pm

steyn was laughing at the fighting and the haka cos this game had so much riding on it and there is so much rivalry. its so good to see that this rivalry has continued for so long!! he loves it!

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erock July 09, 2008 12:54 pm

Brilliant game!! True advert for union and the ELV's......On the negative side imagine it had been Schalk burger picking up Richie McCaw, in an off the ball incident, and dumping him on the ground....World rugby would've come to a standstill....If that wasn't a spear then I haven't been watching the super 14, have a look at Kerschner's tackle for the bulls, straight red!!

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Anonymous July 10, 2008 5:36 am

If youre gonna poke a dog with a stick dont be surprised when it bites. You dont see any ABS provoking off the ball stuff with bakkies botha or mr matfield do you. As for off the ball incidents, smit on thorns throat a couple years back, butch james vs everyone he has every shoulder charged, victor matfields high shot on byron kellher that put him out of all tri nations, seriously.. with off the ball rubbish.. SA shouldnt be throwing stones in a big old glass house. At least thorn actually apologised, more than we're ever heard out of the saffers

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tehmite July 10, 2008 7:58 am

should have been a yellow. once again the kiwis benefit from bad calls by the ref

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Sharky July 10, 2008 10:43 am

If the citing commission felt like any other incidents were worthy of being cited, I'm sure they would have cited them! Afterall, SA didn't request for Thorn to be cited, it was done independantly.The fuss is about this incident, not other 'off the ball stuff', which in all honesty, the NZ commentators got a bit too excited anyway. Nothing life changing that you wouldn't come to expect from a hard, physical test match. The fact that NZ came out tops shows what a quality side they are, but this incident was shocking, and deserved to be punished more severely, simple as that.

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aa July 10, 2008 1:59 pm

ha! you can see him waiting to be sent off! he keeps hanging around the ref after hes finished!! should have gone tho!!!

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Anonymous July 10, 2008 11:06 pm

Listen to you whingers! If it was NZers still moaning about the RWC, you'd tell them to suck it up. Yet here we have a rugby game, like all the other rugby games where some poor calls are made by the ref on both sides (NZ was denied a legitimate TRY) and all you people can do is whinge whinge whinge. Well suck it up fellas, because SA lost and it was because they were well outclassed on the field. Their ring-ins from France were frankly a liability, and for NZ to run rings around the "World Champions" after the mass exodus of talent they experienced is a pretty big deal. SA will get a chance to right the wrongs on Saturday, but for you all to condemn NZ after all the off-the-ball events SA were committing during that game is just sour grapes because NZ were a class above. Do you think a yellow would have made a difference - nope. So'oalio had never captained before, and 8 of the ABs on that side had never played SA before. As for the 6 months comment, what a dreamer! The reason SA are blowing this out of proportion is what I call "doing a Woodwhinge" - taking pressure of a poorly performing coach by overhyping incidents that occur in the game. The reality is that the SA coach is not up to the job, and neither is the team judging by Saturday's display. Suck it up!

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Greiffel July 11, 2008 11:48 am

Suck it up above (aka Anonymous), you have a lot to say, mostly valid, so please pick a name to be identified by in future? It's real easy, just click on Name/Url and enter a name there. :)

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Mike from USA July 11, 2008 10:25 pm

Here's my impartial 2 cents. Thorn was out of line, and he knew it. He clearly picked Smit up and let him fall to his back, there was no attempt to spear. How he escaped carding is speculative at best, likely as most have agreed the ref didn't want to sin bin someone so early in what was promising to be the best test of the year thus far (oh and it was). Thorn acted accordingly immediately after apologizing to Smit, and again at his hearing for the citation. He acknowledged what he did was wrong and knows he should never do it again. Also, for everyone saying he was cited for a "Dangerous Tackle", this is incorrect. His official ban was for Unsportsmanlike Conduct.As far as Smit's allegations of the incident causing him to pull his groin...seriously man, shut it. Even if that is the case, I have lost a great deal of respect for someone I considered one of the hardest men in the international game. When you accept someone's apology, it is over. A real man does not turn around and start whining and complaining that the other deserves more punishment.It is actually quite surprising to hear the amount of cry baby talk coming from the World Champions who always shouldered the image of ultimate hardmen. It is quite disappointing in fact; I expected as much from England, but I thought the South Africans were more proud than that. Especially in the front row club, that is unspeakable, you let your actions speak for yourself on the field. There was dirty play going both ways in that test, and most of them kept their mouths shut and got on with their job. Was Carter hit late? Repeatedly. Did he complain to the media? Did he point fingers and call players out by name? No, he got up and slotted 3 more points, or orchestrated another masterful play. That's what we watch test rugby for.

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Anonymous July 13, 2008 6:56 pm

gotta admit....the haka is quite funny after you have watched it a thousand times.

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Anonymous July 15, 2008 8:57 pm

why the hell has 'Mike from USA' posted such a big comment?? what an idiot, he's american we don't need his big speech - personally i thought it was great by thorn - have a bit of that smit ! And 'Mike from USA' don't leave another comment !

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Noxeaus July 18, 2008 7:17 pm

Leave Mike alone. His comments are valid. It should have been a card. It should have only been one week. Smit should not have gone back on his apology. I don't believe he was injured at this time so it a bit disappointing to have him blame it on that especially as he is such a great player. It seems that SA who is definately the hardest team in world rugby should be able to handle a bit of bruising.I suspect that the brusing was more mental in that they are the world champions but did not show it on the field and now feel the need to make it up off the field. It has good hard rugby. Boths sides commiting infringements off the ball. This one being the worst offense.As to those who say that punishment is less for the AB's. I think that is because usually they are a playing team and use skill and ability to win their games. They just don't make as many of this type of infringement. SA on the other hand is a powerful, brute strenght type team using power to crush and wear down their opponents. It should have been a card but the suspension was correct. I am a Kiwi.

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Anonymous July 19, 2008 1:46 pm

should have been a yellow and a 3 week ban. referee are you blind? right in front of him. dont mock steyns haircut it's badass

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Mat July 28, 2008 1:05 pm

I think Mike from the USA has grasped the essence of rugby perfectly. Whoever it was telling him never to post again should have the balls to use a name.

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Benson July 28, 2008 1:43 pm

Matt, I agree about Mike being fully entitled to his opinion, and Anonymous fools should be using nicknames. Only part Mike got wrong though is that Carter did actually moan to the media, on two separate occasions actually...

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Alain August 14, 2008 5:42 pm

s.a guys shud hav smashed thorns face in after it happened..was a def yellow card

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rugbyfreak August 25, 2008 1:21 pm

What a brawl...and the tackle was completely pointless...foolish play from Thorn.It should of been a yellow card.

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mendorugger October 14, 2011 6:52 am

I hate dirty cheap shoters, sure Thorn should have kept his cool, but clearly hear the ref caution #2 (Smit), right before Big Brad Thorn picks him up and drops him. Smit does a bit of extras on Thorn and gets embarrassed in the process. Many players might of just wanted till the ref was not looking and gauged an eye or gave a little punch, but Thorn being a man of character teaches Smit a lesson which is if ya play dirty, your gonna get a thrashing. How easy was it for thorn to just drop that guy. Wow!

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