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Rugby | International Rugby

IRB to appeal 'unduly lenient' Thomson ban



The International Rugby Board (IRB) said on Wednesday it would appeal against the "unduly lenient" one-week ban handed down to New Zealand's Adam Thomson for stamping on Scotland's Alasdair Strokosch.

Thomson, yellow-carded during the world champions' 51-22 win over Scotland at Murrayfield on November 11, was subsequently cited for stamping on Strokosch.

But despite independent IRB judicial officer Jean-Noel Couraud finding him guilty of an offence at a hearing in London last Wednesday, the Frenchman imposed a ban of just one week.

However, the global governing body can initiate an appeal under a revised regulation in its own rule-book which took effect on June 1.

An IRB statement issued on Wednesday said: "The International Rugby Board has confirmed that it will appeal what it strongly believes to be an unduly lenient sanction handed down to New Zealand forward Adam Thomson for stamping or trampling on the head of an opponent.

"As custodians of rugby worldwide, the IRB has a duty to protect its image, values and integrity together with the welfare of players at all levels in order that the sport can continue its unprecedented growth and welcome more men, women and children to the rugby family.

"The IRB strongly believes that the sanction of one week is unduly lenient for this particular act of foul play and not aligned with the sanctions handed down in similar cases."

The global governing body's statement added: "The IRB firmly believes it is in the best interests of the Game and its integrity to exercise its ability to appeal the Thomson decision."

As for the timing of the appeal tribunal, the IRB said: "The logistical arrangements for the hearing will be announced shortly."

Scotland coach Andy Robinson suggested after the match that Thomson had been fortunate to escape a red card.

Thomson's ban meant he missed last Saturday's 42-10 win over Italy in Rome. However, as things stand, he id available for this Saturday's test against Wales in Cardiff.

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen is due to announce his side to play Wales on Thursday, with the All Blacks concluding their tour against England at Twickenham on December 1.

Former England hooker Brian Moore, in language not far removed from the IRB's own words this Wednesday (November 21), reacted to Thomson's suspension by labelling it "ludicrously lenient".

And the punishment was in marked contrast to the eight-week ban handed out the same day to Australia lock Rob Simmons for a "tip tackle" on France flanker Yannick Nyanga during the Wallabies 33-6 defeat in Paris on November 10.

As pundits and Twitter commentators reacted against Couraud's ruling last Wednesday, IRB chief executive Brett Gosper reacted by using the social networking site to say: "The IRB will review this case as it is a match under our jurisdiction.

"If we decide to take action we will make it public," the Australian, who took up his post in June, added.

Samoa centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu slammed the Thomson verdict and compared it with the three-week ban he received from England's Rugby Football Union last year for tweets about Owen Farrell.

"I got 3 weeks for sarcastic tweets. So had I just rucked Farrells head I would have got only a week? Its just so comical these days," Fuimaono-Sapolu said.

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