• World Rugby fails the game in failing to cite Itoje

    World Rugby fails the game in failing to cite Itoje

    Maro Itoje’s knee to the throat of Damian de Allende was a shameful moment for Itoje, but not as shameful as World Rugby’s failure to sanction Itoje, writes Mark Keohane.

    Itoje is a wonderful player and comfortably among the best locks in the game, but he lost the plot in the heat of battle in the second British & Irish Lions Test against the Springboks. Itoje produced the most despicable of acts in planting his knee on the throat of a defenceless player, who was laying on his back an unable to defend himself.

    It was an ugly moment in Itoje’s celebrated career and a low for the player.

    World Rugby is all about player safety and a supposed refusal to condone any act of foul play that goes anywhere near the neck or head area. But Itoje’s knee to De Allende’s throat and neck didn’t even warrant a mention from the Citing Commission or anyone in World Rugby, despite the video footage going viral.

    The Citing Commissioner, Australian Scott Nowland, also saw nothing wrong with the way Lions fullback Stuart Hogg treated Springbok fullback Willie le Roux’s left arm as a buffet with the way he bit into it.

    Either that or Hogg is teething, such was the length of his munch on Le Roux’s upper arm.

    Hogg was defiant in a statement that he did not bite Le Roux, but the visual is damning.

    Cheslin Kolbe, yellow carded for taking out Conor Murray in the air in chasing a high kick, escaped further sanction and Lions replacement prop Kyle Sinckler was cited for a bite on Springbok lock Franco Mostert’s arm in the 64th minute.

    Sinckler will face a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday, 3rd August.

    The Lions and Springboks are tied one-all in a three-Test series, with the series to be decided at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday, 7th August.

    The failure of World Rugby to act against the obvious also reinforces SA National Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus’s 62 minute video highlighting how much the match officials missed in the 1st Test match.

    Article written by

    Keo has written about South African and international rugby professionally for the last 25 years