Quirk sees let-off for Chiefs and Nemani
Super Rugby leaders Chiefs will not be affected by the three-week suspension handed down to wing Maritino Nemani for a dangerous tackle because of a quirk in the new playing schedule.
The penalty bans Nemani up to and including June 23, covering the three-week Super 15 recess introduced this year to accommodate Test matches during the season.
However, SANZAR (South Africa, New Zealand, Australia rugby) judicial officer Mike Heron defended the penalty as a “meaningful suspension”.
He said the player would not be available for New Zealand’s North-South match and would miss club rugby during that period.
Nemani pleaded guilty to a dangerous tackle on Blues winger Rene Ranger for which he was yellow-carded in their match won by the Chiefs 41-34 on Saturday.
The tackle might have seen Nemani suspended for six weeks, but Heron said this was reduced due to the early guilty plea, Nemani’s previous clean record and remorse.
Heron said he also took into account the fact Ranger was not injured and the effect Nemani’s yellow card had on the Chiefs, who conceded 10 points while he was off the field.