All Blacks: IRB to review Thomson penalty

By Gregor Paul in Rome

Euphoria turned to disbelief and anger may now be the next emotion in the evolution of the prolonged case of Adam Thomson and his charge of stomping on Scotsman Alasdair Strokosch.

The All Black flanker had been relieved, delighted even, to learn that he was only being punished with a one-week ban. But between receiving his punishment in London and flying back to Rome, everything changed. He arrived at the All Blacks Italian hotel to learn that the IRB chief executive Brett Gosper had been on Twitter announcing that the case would be reviewed as the governing body has the right to do.

He'll have to wait to see whether the threat from Gosper was real or a bullish response to some goading by prominent English media who took to the social media airwaves to express their outrage at the leniency of the ban.

The IRB have the right to review any hearing but it has surprised and most probably angered the All Blacks that within minutes of the finding being made public, the chief executive of the governing body was already promising to investigate.

"It has been a long day and at the end of it we clearly understand and accept the decision that has been passed out," said All Black assistant coach Ian Foster who had been helping Thomson with his defence. "It was a robust and thorough process."

Foster was clearly surprised to hear of the rumblings coming out of Dublin about a possible review of the sanctions but couldn't offer any thoughts without knowing the full facts.

Just as clear was the dejection in Thomson when he heard about the possibility of the whole sorry business being dragged back into the judicial process. A one-week ban meant he could stay on tour and hope that he may still enjoy more appearances in the All Black shirt. Now he can't be certain that will be the case, and must now hope that his guilty plea, obvious remorse, immediate apology to Strokosch and previously clean record all hold up under more scrutiny.

"I never intended to make contact with the player and I had a fair chance to make that case today," said Thomson. "I'm happy I had that chance to state my case today and that I was listened to.

"I am disappointed to have been suspended. I pride myself in the way I conduct myself on the field. I have had a long career and a clean slate and then to get to this stage and blow up...it is disappointing."

- Herald on Sunday

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