New Zealand Rugby Players' Association chief Rob Nichol has called for a review of the current judiciary system after another striking incident on All Black captain Richie McCaw.
Nichol labelled the system ‘inconsistent’ after Wallaby flank Scott Higginbotham received a two-match ban for striking McCaw with the knee and head during the drawn Bledisloe Cup clash in Brisbane.
Under International Rugby Board guidelines, the starting point for striking with the knee and head is three and four weeks respectively.
The decision came from Jannie Lubbe, who also presided over the Quade Cooper case in which the Wallaby flyhalf escaped suspension after kneeing McCaw in the face last year.
Lubbe stated that he saw Higginbotham's actions as more of a bump than a strike and claimed that McCaw was 'not injured and play resumed.'
Nichol also mentioned the one-Test ban of Springbok prop Dean Greyling for his elbow to McCaw's face last month, stating that players are being ‘bamboozled’ by the system.
"We're putting a hand on the table and saying listen, we think the system and the processes are there, but we actually think that for whatever reason some of the people handing down these decisions are not getting it right and either we've got to support them to do a better job, or we've got to find some people that can do it," Nichol told Radio Sport.
"This is not about Richie and it should never be about an individual player having to bang the table around the judicial system like this. It's something that should be taken out of their hands.
“They want the process to be independent, and they want it to be run in a manner that protects the welfare of everyone on the ground.”
Nichol, who is also the chief executive of the International Rugby Players' Association, said the problem lies with the interpretation of sanctions as apposed to the system itself.
"From a systems perspective and a process perspective, I think we've got the tools that we need to ensure foul play is eradicated. But the issue simply comes down here to the competency of some people that are operating within the system."
Nichol added that the issue would be discussed at the upcoming SANZAR review meeting.
"We are part of the review meeting later on this year and we'll be taking our views to the table and challenging SANZAR to say that we've got to do a better job in either supporting the people we put in the chair or we've got to find the people that are best equipped."
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