When Sonny Bill Williams flattened Anthony Watson in the second Test between the All Blacks and the British and Irish Lions, a red card was branded, followed by a four game suspension.
At the time, it was feared that the ban would not only cost Williams of any further involvement in the Lions tour but would also impact his availability for the Bledisloe Cup fixtures with Australia.
New Zealand Rugby, therefore, submitted a fixture list to World Rugby that included an inter-squad trial game for Counties-Manukau, in addition to the All Blacks’ game of three halves against Taranaki and Counties.
This latter game is set to be a fully officiated and televised contest and, as reported by Stuff, felt by New Zealand Rugby to be of the standards required by World Rugby.
This fixture submission was subsequently rejected by World Rugby, leading to an appeal by NZ Rugby, with a verdict still to be issued.
Now, the New Zealand Herald has almost committed rugby blasphemy, by suggesting that Williams’ ban should be extended, despite the efforts being made by NZ rugby to ensure he is available for the Bledisloe Cup game on August 19th.
The suggestion being put forward by Wynne Gray of the NZ Herald is simple. Should a player be banned as a result of an infringement that occurred during an international Test, then the ban should serve on an international level, while club involvement remains unaffected.
Similarly, if the infringement occurs at domestic league level then the ban extends from there through to and including Test level.
Put simply, whatever level the infringement occurs, the suspending is served at that level and upwards.
If this was a rule to be adopted and enforced, Williams would then serve an international ban that would include not only last months third Lions Test, but also the two opening Bledisloe matches with Australia, followed by the clash with Argentina.
Williams would then only become available for the Springboks encounter on September 16th.
On paper, it would appear that the suggested revision of the rules governing bans is not entirely without merit but in the case of Williams, it will likely be poorly received by the New Zealand faithful.
[gravityform id=”1″ title=”true” description=”true”]