Adam Thomson was yellow carded and then cited at
Murrayfield. Photo Reuters
The Adam Thomson saga refuses to die with confirmation
the IRB are appealing against the All Black flanker's
suspension - arguing that the two-week ban reduced to one was
an "unduly lenient sanction".
The All Blacks are legally bound to say little while the
appeal is being conducted but it is believed they are unhappy
with the way the IRB has handled itself.
Thomson, who was yellow carded and then cited at Murrayfield
for standing on the head of Scottish flanker Alasdair
Strokosch, has become a pawn in a much bigger power struggle.
The All Blacks have suspected for several years now that when
they play in the Northern Hemisphere they are victimised by a
judicial system that feels pressured by a rabid media and
high-powered administrators. There is ample evidence to
support their belief - none more convincing than the direct
involvement of IRB chief executive Mike Miller in 2009 over a
high tackle committed by Daniel Carter in Cardiff.
The All Blacks understand that Carter wasn't originally going
to be pursued by the citing officer until Miller intervened.
Their dismay grew in 2010 when England hooker Dylan Hartley
wasn't cited for a rash, off-the-ball attack on Richie McCaw
while Keven Mealamu was for a lesser incident on England's
captain Lewis Moody.
The latest episode with Thomson has enraged the situation
further as the initial judgement was barely released before
new IRB chief executive Brett Gosper had used social media
site, Twitter, to claim the case would need to be reviewed.
He appeared to be responding to earlier Tweets from Daily
Telegraph columnists Mick Cleary and Brian Moore who both
admonished the sentence as too lenient. It didn't help that a
few days later, another prominent writer, Stephen Jones,
tweeted that he'd just finished an excellent luncheon with
Maybe it is All Black paranoia, but it doesn't feel much like
it after reading the IRB's statement justifying the appeal.
"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 firmly believes it is in the best interests of the
game and its integrity to exercise its ability to appeal the
The All Blacks withdrew Thomson from selection for the Wales
test and are waiting now to hear when the appeal will take
The appeal decision will be final and binding, denying the
All Blacks the opportunity to reiterate that the IRB's own
recommendation for the foul play committed by Thomson is a
two-week suspension when deemed to be at the lowest level of
the scale - which they argue it was.
That suspension can be cut in half depending on mitigating
circumstances such as previous good behaviour and intent. The
All Blacks are adamant that due process has been followed and
that there are previous cases in law this year which are in
line with the punishment handed down to Thomson.