Richard Loe 's Opinion

Richard Loe is a former All Black and current columnist for the New Zealand Herald

Richard Loe: Officials must go for needless Thomson saga

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Adam Thomson of the All Blacks. Photo / Getty Images
Adam Thomson of the All Blacks. Photo / Getty Images

Unaccustomed as I am to the hallowed halls of the judicial hearing rooms, I have to say this about all the fuss over Adam Thomson's one-week ban: don't blame the player. Blame the judiciary for stuffing it up - and the IRB should not give Thomson a bigger ban if they review it.

The outrage being expressed now isn't his fault. Thomson should have, in my view, got two weeks. The fact that he didn't isn't down to him but is a clear case of people not doing their job properly - and they should be sacked.

In all my time - and I got in trouble once or twice - I never heard of getting a week's ban rescinded because of good behaviour in the judicial room.

I can't speak for Robin Brooke but he had a time or two in there as well and I'd bet the sheepdogs and their pups that he never heard of a week off for good behaviour either. What are these characters playing at?

All right, Thomson stuffed up. He got yellow-carded. The linesman did his job, the referee did his job and Thomson turned up and ate some humble pie. All parts of the system worked smoothly - except one.

There are distinct guidelines for this kind of process. We all heard about it - from two weeks to eight weeks out of the game, depending on the severity of the offence. Thomson's "crime" was clearly at the lower end of the scale. So give him a two-week penalty. Why on earth drag up this "good behaviour" lark?

By doing that, they have caused the outcry that will probably lead to Thomson being given more time. It also sparks off all those media and one-eyed fans up there who believe the dirty All Blacks get treated leniently when most of us from this part of the world think we get punished harshly.

That's one thing. Compare what Thomson did - lightly touching the head of a Scotsman with plastic sprigs - to what South African prop Dan Greyling got for his forearm to the face of Richie McCaw. He got two weeks and it is my belief that, as far as intent was concerned, his offence was at the eight-week end of the scale.

Greyling came running in as fast as his fat little legs would carry him and threw his elbow and forearm at McCaw's dial. I'd put his scale of intent at nine or 10 out of 10. Thomson had no malicious intent whatsoever. It was a case of "there's the ball - I'll get it - whoops, bugger ... shouldn't have done that".

Thomson should have got two weeks. Then there would be no moaning and no one would have been upset. That comes down to the judiciary not doing their job. They have rules, regulations and guidelines to enforce - so why not do it?

Many of them are lawyers and some are QCs and I'll bet they all get paid. It's like a painter coming round to paint your house. If they do a poor job, you sack them and don't pay. That's what I'd do with that mob - sack them.

It's a shame most of the discussion from that game has centred on that as the All Blacks played pretty well, if a bit patchily. The errors they made generally gave the Scots their tries and there was a lot of inaccurate stuff in the second half. New young players Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Dane Coles made a couple of basic mistakes and they will be better for getting them out of their system.

McCaw and Dan Carter were superb and, even though what was in front of them wasn't much, the All Blacks moved the ball at speed and scored some really good tries. When Carter wasn't running at them and embarrassing them, the Scots discovered that, when he passed, Tamati Ellison and Ben Smith were good runners too. Piri Weepu - on whom I've been very hard in recent times - had his best game for a couple of years, I thought, clearing the ball and running support well. It was great to see.

- Herald on Sunday

Richard Loe

Richard Loe is a former All Black and current columnist for the New Zealand Herald

Richard Wyllie Loe was a renowned All Black forward prop who plied his trade for the New Zealand national team between 1987 and 1995. Loe was well known by fans and team mates alike as an ‘enforcer’ on the pitch, a player who balanced his abilities with the ball with a tough-tackling prowess and a penchant for physicality. During an outstanding career Richard Loe represented his country of birth in no less than three World Cups, assisting the All Blacks to a famous victory in 1987. Along with fellow team mate and captain Sean Fitzpatrick, Loe formed one of the most formidable forward lines ever to lead the All Blacks. Despite his sometimes overly physical dominance on the pitch, Loe is regarded by former team mates as being an exceptional character and professional. Following retirement from rugby Loe became a sport columnist for the New Zealand Herald, a position he still holds today.

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