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All Blacks Demand Consistency After Carter Ban

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
All Blacks Demand Consistency After Carter Ban

By Mark Geenty of NZPA

Milan, Nov 10 NZPA - The All Blacks are demanding consistency from citing commissioners and say Dan Carter's one-week ban has set a strict precedent for future rugby tests.

[Related: Carter Gets One-Week Ban]

Carter declined the opportunity to appeal the one-week suspension for a dangerous high tackle handed down today in London by International Rugby Board-appointed judicial officer, English judge Jeff Blackett.

It meant Carter would miss Sunday's (NZT) sold out test against Italy at San Siro -- which he was going to sit out anyway in favour of likely debutant Mike Delany -- and be back for a duel with England pivot Jonny Wilkinson at Twickenham a week later.

The decision also avoided an outcry which would have ensued had Carter been banned for the Twickenham test by an Englishman.

The All Blacks accepted the penalty, with assistant coach Wayne Smith saying he expected Carter would cop a one-test ban after he was cited by Australian citing commissioner Scott Nowland for the 72nd-minute high tackle on Welshman Martin Roberts in Cardiff.

But Smith hoped other such transgressions, which Blackett said in his judgement was at the "low end" of the scale, would now be picked up.

"All I'd say is that there needs to be some consistency here and make sure that similar offences get cited in the future. I think it has (set a precedent)," Smith said.

It was Carter's first judiciary appearance in his glittering professional career with the Crusaders and All Blacks.

Carter flew to London last night for the morning hearing at a hotel at Heathrow Airport, and returned to the All Blacks' Milan hotel early today (NZT).

"I guess I was pretty happy and I thought the hearing went well. It was a fair hearing. It was my first time to the judiciary so it was a new experience for me," Carter said.

"So I guess I'll just look forward to helping the boys prepare for the game this week and look forward to getting back on the pitch next week."

Blackett accepted there was no malicious intent by Carter, that Roberts was uninjured, and that Carter apologised after the match and the pair shook hands.

Still, Blackett said: "It is important that dangerous tackles -- which have the potential to cause serious injury to head or neck -- are marked with a sanction."

He said two weeks was the base penalty for such an offence, but Carter's excellent record and his conduct around the incident earned him a 50 percent discount.

Carter was represented today by London-based lawyer Owen Eastwood and accompanied by All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen.

His defence was that Roberts fell into the tackle, which wasn't late and didn't include a swinging arm or closed fist.

At the hearing, Hansen also highlighted Carter's clean judicial record, his humble nature, and his status as one of the great All Blacks.

Carter became the third All Black to be suspended on the current tour, after winger Sitiveni Sivivatu (dangerous tackle) and prop Tony Woodcock (striking) got one-match bans after the Tokyo test against the Wallabies.

Smith admitted that was a concern but didn't think the All Blacks were earning a reputation for foul play.

"I think we've got to do what we can to ensure that we're lily white, that we're beyond reproach," he said.


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