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Woodward Somewhat Underwhelmed by Citing Decision

Woodward Somewhat Underwhelmed by Citing Decision

The decision that the charge of stamping, brought against All Black Ali Williams by match commissioner Michael Somes (Australia), could not be proven, has angered Clive Woodward.

The decision that the charge of stamping, brought against All Black lock Ali Williams by match commissioner Michael Somes (Australia), could not be proven, has clearly angered England coach,Clive Woodward.

Commenting on the Zurich Premiership website, Woodward has asked how the Judicial Committee – chaired by Michael Goodwin (Australia) with Bruce Squire, QC (New Zealand) and Mattie Blackburn (New Zealand) also on the panel – arrived at their decision.

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“The guy stamps on someone’s head and the incident was nasty, the cuts to Lewsey’s head are bad, and this guy gets off scot-free with no explanation, and I would like to find out why. What did they find out from the video that made it an unpunishable offence?”

The incident happened at a second half ruck close to touch judge Alan Lewis’s line and when the Irishman called over referee Stuart Dickinson it was assumed, by those watching the tv replays that Williams was in trouble and that England would be awarded a penalty.

However, it was against England that the penalty was awarded although Williams was subsequently cited by Somes, the citing official.

Speaking of the procedures that led to Williams’ appearance at the discipliary hearing, Woodward said: “First of all we don’t cite him. What you have is a citing officer (Somes) and he goes through all the tapes and he decides whether to cite someone or not.

“What they do is they ask me if there is any particular incident that I want them to look at besides the incident in question which has already been cited.

“You don’t have to bring it to anyone’s attention, it was there on the television. Its already been seen. There is nothing more we can do. All we can do is bring incidents to the citing officer’s attention, so that was the only incident in the game.

“I have obviously seen all the tapes of it and he has obviously got off scot-free, which is just wrong in my opinion, and you would be a lot happier if you had had a clear explanation from the citing officer QC why he (Williams) gets absolutely nothing.”

It’s easy to understand Woodward’s frustration. Sky TV cameras did Williams’ case no favours and he can count himself fortunate indeed to have escaped censure.

Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan will doubtless share Woodward’s frustration following the stamping incident in his side’s game against Tonga that left Eric Miller with a broken nose and lacerations to an eyelid. It would appear that referee Steve Walsh sent off the wrong player for the offence – following consultation with his touch-judge – and the real culprit therefore cannot be cited.

Miller and Lewsey were both lucky, but only because of the angle of their heads. Which just goes to prove the old adage that, “It’s better to be born lucky, than rich.”