Breaking: Malakai Fekitoa Handed Laughable Punishment For Zebo Tackle
This is ridiculous.
Malakai Fekitoa has been handed a one-week ban for his insanely high tackle on Simon Zebo’s neck. The New Zealand centre was yellow carded last Saturday with many people stating it was a clear red card.
An independent Disciplinary Committee found that Fekitoa’s actions would have warranted a red card, but went on to unbelievably say that the challenge was reckless, not intentional.
They also considered his previously clean record, his acknowledgment of wrongdoing, and his good conduct during the hearing so they could reduce his suspension to one week.
The disciplinary update reads:
Malakai Fekitoa, the New Zealand centre, appeared today in London (Heathrow) before an independent Disciplinary Committee (appointed by World Rugby), having been cited by an independent Citing Commissioner (appointed by World Rugby) for an allegedly dangerous tackle in contravention of Law 10.4 (e) in the Autumn International match between Ireland and New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday 19 November 2016. Mr Fekitoa accepted that he had committed an act of foul play but asserted that it would not have warranted a red card.
The Disciplinary Committee, chaired by Antony Davies (England), alongside Derek Bevan (Wales) and John Doubleday (England), viewed video footage of the incident, listened to evidence and representations from and on behalf of the player, and reviewed all of the other evidence.
The Disciplinary Committee found that Mr Fekitoa’s actions would have warranted a red card, albeit that he had acted recklessly rather than intentionally. When considering sanction, the Disciplinary Committee concluded that the offending merited a low-end entry point based on World Rugby’s scale of seriousness, which carries a two-week playing suspension.
The Disciplinary Committee further found that there were no aggravating factors and that there were a number of mitigating factors (including Mr Fekitoa’s immediate acknowledgement of wrongdoing, his previous clean disciplinary record and his good conduct at the hearing) such that his playing suspension be reduced to one week.
Mr Fekitoa is therefore suspended from playing rugby for a total of one week, up to and including Sunday 27 November 2016.
What do you think of this outcome? Did he deserve more?