Quensland Reds winger Digby Ioane has been suspended for five weeks following a dangerous tackle he made on flanker Marcel’ Coetzee during their 27-22 defeat to the Sharks in Durban on Saturday. His previous record contributed to the hefty ban.
According to a SANZAR statement earlier today, Ioane lifted and failed to bring Coetzee down to ground safely. He admitted his guilt and judicial officer Mike Heron said that previous disciplinary matters, including his spear tackle on Casey Laulala in 2008, had counted against him.
“Ioane has been suspended from all forms of the game up to and including Saturday 21 April after contravening Law 10.4 (j). Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground is dangerous play,” said the statement.
An early guilty plea reduced the possibility of a heavier sanction. He flies home today, and will miss matches against the Bulls, Western Force, Brumbies, and Stormers. A bye for the Reds means he only misses out on four games.
The defending champion Reds have already lost Quade Cooper and a number of other key backline players, so the loss of Ioane, who is not only noted as a playmaker but a strong defender as well, will be a big blow.
“Losing your two healthy goalkickers and playmakers at the No. 10 position is far from an ideal scenario but we’ll reassess in coming days and come up with a plan best suited for our final game on tour against the Bulls,” Reds coach Ewen McKenzie said.
While the five weeks may seem harsh, and possibly lenient to others, all factors need to be taken into account when passing judgement. That includes the method of lifting and driving the player to ground, as well as the individual’s disciplinary record.
Taking that into account, do you think a five week ban is about right?