In a game filled with controversial decisions from the more than incompetent ref Paul Marks, Epi Taione had a moment of absolute stupidity when he lost the plot by head butting a Hurricanes player. The contact wasn’t huge, despite hitting the ‘Canes player on the chin by launching himself in his direction.
To play for the (Natal) Sharks, unbeaten in the Super 14 so far this season, should be an honour, but the Tongan import let everybody down on Saturday. His ridiculous attack on Hurricanes lock Jeremy Thrush earned him an automatic red, one of the few things the ref did get correct on the night.
Sharks coach Dick Muir claimed have missed the blatant head-butt, but assistant coach John Plumtree was more realistic. It was a fair enough decision. I think he was just over-excited,.
Taione had been playing in Japan recently, but before that was playing for Newcastle in the UK, then the Sale Sharks in 2006. Taione didn’t stick around too long though, after having been banned for six weeks for a shameful biting incident.
Highly disappointing from a player with such huge potential, this latest misdemeanour should see Taione banned for at least a month, meaning he’ll miss the overseas leg of the tour. In all honesty, don’t be surprised if you don’t see him in a Sharks jersey again.