Former Springbok wing Stefan Terblanche has been included on a new Foul Play Review Committee established by SANZAAR along with the introduction of a new and updated judicial process for the forthcoming Vodacom Super Rugby series.
World Rugby has endorsed the process and SANZAAR believes it represents an enhancement to an important part of the tournament that will provide improved consistency and efficient decision-making.
The changes to the SANZAAR Judicial Rules for 2017 include:
• Permitting an incident to be referred back to the Citing Commissioner for review if new evidence becomes available outside the existing allowable time frame for determination;
• The introduction of a three-person Foul Play Review Committee;
• The exclusion of the regular season bye rounds in any sanction; and
• The ability of Judicial Committees to issue a warning for foul play offences that in their opinion do not quite meet the “red card threshold”.
Central to the amendments in 2017 is the formation of the Foul Play Review Committee, which will be comprised of a consistent panel of three members who in the first instance will review all incidents of red cards, Citing Commissioner referrals and misconduct, and make a determination based on the information before them.
SANZAAR has appointed senior Judicial Officer Nigel Hampton QC (New Zealand) to chair the committee. He will be assisted by Terblanche, who is also the CEO of the SA Rugby Legends Association, and former Wallaby and Brumbies lock John Langford from Australia.
The committee will meet at a fixed time to be determined at the conclusion of each round and the infringing player will have the ability to accept the decision of the committee or have the right to be heard at a formal judicial hearing within the following 24 hours.
In the determination of an incident and the handing down of any sanctions, the committee will now have the ability to exclude any regular season Vodacom Super Rugby byes as part of a meaningful sanction. This means, for example, a three week suspension means a player will miss three Vodacom Super Rugby matches – byes or matches in other competitions are excluded from the sanction.
This is a significant change and will ensure all sanctions issued during Vodacom Super Rugby are treated consistently across all teams.
Commenting on the new judicial process, SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos said: “The new process is the result of the identification of certain challenges within the application of an effective and consistent judicial process.
“It has followed a comprehensive review of Super Rugby 2016 and a consultation process with the Four National Unions (ARU, NZR, SA Rugby and UAR). The changes also follow World Rugby’s acceptance, following a Judicial Review Conference last year that competition organisers be allowed to tailor judicial processes to suit the challenges associated within their competitions.
“SANZAAR believes Super Rugby has unique challenges across six territories and 15 time zones and the enhanced Super Rugby judicial process will deliver a more streamlined and effective system for teams and a more consistent outcome for players and fans to identify with.”
The Tournament will also be played under World Rugby’s 2017 Law Trials and the head contact law revisions.