Blues coach Pat Lam has well and truly spat the dummy over what he regards as inconsistencies by Super Rugby citing commissioners.
Lam’s outburst came after flank Luke Braid was banned for three weeks, after he punched Stormers replacement Nizaam Carr in the 17-27 loss at Newlands last week.
It was the Blues’ third defeat in four outings – following the 18-19 reversal to the Crusaders, a 14-29 defeat to the Chiefs and a 29-23 win over the Bulls.
SANZAR judicial officer Mike Heron found that Braid had struck the Stormers player twice – the first with his forearm to the back of the neck, the second with a part-open hand to the head.
“I find the striking (on both occasions) to be deliberate and dangerous,” Heron said.
Despite this strong condemnation by the SANZAR official, Lam told NZ Newswire that he is upset hooker Dan Coles will be in the Hurricanes’ side to face the Blues in Auckland on Friday – after avoiding being cited against the Highlanders.
Lam said it’s fair enough that Braid has to take responsibility, although he described the player’s actions as “really innocuous”.
“All we ask for is fairness,” Lam said on Wednesday.
“We’ve got one guy who’s out for three weeks and another guy playing this week and openly admitting what he did and it’s obviously worse than what Luke did.
“Nothing against the players, it’s more against the citing commissioners.”
The Blues have a bye next week, so Braid will miss two matches.
According to New Zealand media reports Coles have conceded that he might have been lucky to avoid a citing after the Hurricanes’ 17-19 defeat to the Highlanders.
Coles was penalised for leading with his shoulder in a ruck and later threw a punch at opposition prop Bronson Murray.
He described what he did as “stupid retaliation” and something he would have to cut out of his game.
Lam was also critical of the short turnaround the team has had after coming back from South Africa and having to play on a Friday.
All the other New Zealand teams had Saturday games after such a trip.
“It is tough be have got to embrace that and get on and perform as a group. And I’m confident we will do that,” he said.
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