Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Wynne Gray: Gosper's Twitter move quite worrying


Early into his job, new IRB boss Brett Gosper has not distinguished himself.

No doubt he has some serious business acumen after a 30-year stint in the advertising world in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and America since he transferred his Australian-born talents north of the equator.

But his decision to embroil himself in a review of Adam Thomson's week ban for trampling, through social networking site Twitter, is not promising.

It may be a sign about his lack of administrative rugby savvy but this utterance in the public arena, via Twitter, was not good.

Gosper succeeded Mike Miller and began work in August charged with moving the game towards the 2015 World Cup and driving its commercial business. He may have spoken to the media at times up north but his seemingly sudden outburst about Thomson's sentence, as revealed by Twitter devotees, was bizarre.

Gosper was not as vociferous to my knowledge when Springbok prop Dean Greyling was banned for just a match when he hit Richie McCaw with a flying elbow-jolt. To equate that with Thomson's offence is bizarre.

For the IRB boss to tweet about a review into Thomson's ban was rash.

Rugby authorities and lawyers love process and Gosper, no matter his opinion, should have stayed quiet while he and his review officers pondered the case.

Once they had assessed their next move, a statement could have been issued.

Thomson was fortunate.

His action could be dismissed as careless but he looked at his target, a red and black scrumcap which could not be confused with the white and blue ball, and then scratched a lame boot on it.

Dumb, daft, brain explosion, go sit on the naughty chair for a few weeks. An original two weeks' ban was about right and a reminder of his obligations.

Changing that penalty to a week because of Thomson's clean record was as sensible as skateboarding in Harrods.

Global judicial consistency needs to be near the top of the IRB's must-do list.

Until that uniformity is delivered there will always be these disparities.

Sanzar and the IRB need to dovetail their processes and penalties, it is lame that the IRB, who allegedly run the world game, does not have any sanction about Sanzar matches.

They have tried to merge the global itineraries, now they need to do the same with their judicial system.

- NZ Herald

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Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

The latest commentary and analysis from senior rugby writer Wynne Gray. Wynne has been covering the All Blacks for more than 27 years and has attended more than 230 All Blacks tests live for the Herald.

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