A handful of citings took place this weekend in Super Rugby, with one of the most talked about being this incident from the Lions’ great 26-22 away win at the Highlanders on Saturday. Both players are in the dock.
As you can see in the clip, flanker Michael Rhodes appeared to get Highlanders winger Siale Piutau in some kind of headlock, then attempted to clear him out like that, flipping him dangerously. Piutau retaliated, as to be expected, landing two blows to the head of Rhodes.
In the chaos that followed, he threw another punch. As expected, both players have since been cited, and will face a SANZAR judicial panel tomorrow. They are both cited for ‘acts contrary to good sportsmanship’, while Rhodes’ is for dangerous tackling without the ball, and Piutau’s will be for punching and opponent and retaliation.
Both will no doubt face a few weeks off if (when?) found guilty.
Elsewhere, Sharks forward Jean Deysel was cited for a similar offence in their 26-21 win over the Waratahs in Durban. Unlike in the other incident, Deyself was seen by the officials, and yellow carded for his dangerous headlock.
UPDATE 31/05/2011: Rhodes has been suspended for 6 weeks, while Piutau escaped suspension, due to ‘exceptional circumstances’.
“Whilst the player admitted to foul play he had been seriously compromised in the incident involving Rhodes,” said judicial officer Nick Davidson, who added that the winger was placed ‘at serious risk of injury’.
“Piutau’s reaction was that of someone who had been seriously endangered and to impose a sanction in these circumstances would not reflect the effect on Piutau of the incident and a reaction that was the product of shock rather than retaliatory intent.”
Rhodes has the right to appeal the sanction.