IRB say Thomson ban is 'unduly lenient'


The International Rugby Board (IRB) has appealed against a one-week ban handed to New Zealand’s Adam Thomson for stamping on the head of a opponent because it was “unduly lenient”.

Flanker Thomson was cited for contact with Alasdair Strokosch’s head after the All Blacks’ 51-22 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield. He was suspended by an independent judicial officer.

“After careful consideration and having reviewed the full written decision in the Thomson case well within the permitted 72 hours of receipt, 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 IRB said in a statement.

Thomson missed the All Blacks’ victory over Italy last Saturday.

The arrangements for the independent appeal hearing will be made shortly.

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer was relieved to be able to include his “enforcer” Eben Etzebeth to face England after the lock was cleared of an eye-gouging charge.

Etzebeth appeared before a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday night after being cited for allegedly making contact with the “eye or eye area” of Scotland fly-half Greig Laidlaw.

The judicial officer, David Martin, decided the contact had been accidental and ruled Etzebeth available to play at Twickenham.

Meyer rates Etzebeth as one of the best locks in the world and believes his aggression will be vital against an England side preparing to “toughen up”.

Etzebeth plays in an unchanged Springbok starting line-up from their 21-10 victory at Murrayfield, with Bath’s Francois Louw on the openside and Ulster’s Ruan Pienaar at scrumhalf.

SOUTH AFRICA(v England): Z Kirchner; JP Pietersen, J de Jongh, J de Villiers (capt), F Hougaard; P Lambie, R Pienaar; G Steenkamp, A Strauss, J du Plessi, E Etzebeth, J Kruger, F Louw, W Alberts, D Vermeulen. Replacements: S Brits, H van der Merwe, P Cilliers, F van der Merwe, Ml Coetzee, E Jantjoes, J Taute, L Mvovo.

SCOTLAND(v Tonga): S Hogg; S Lamont, M Evans, M Scott, T Visser; G Laidlaw, H Pyrgos; R Grant, S Lawson, E Murray, R Gray, A Kellock, A Strokosch, K Brown, D Denton. Replacements: D Hall, K Traynor, G Cross, G Gilchrist, J Barclay, R Lawson, T Heathcote, N De Luca.

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