Elsom decision good for rugby: Waugh - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Elsom decision good for rugby: Waugh

By David Beniuk 29/08/2008 07:05:33 PM Comments (0)

Veteran flanker Phil Waugh says Rocky Elsom's successful appeal against a suspension was as important for the game of rugby as it was for the Wallabies.

Elsom was cited and then banned for one match for pulling down South African captain Victor Matfield during last Saturday's breakthrough win to the Wallabies in Durban.

The incident appeared minor and many observers this week commented that the penalty it drew during the game should have been sufficient punishment.

Instead the Wallabies were treated to a four-day ordeal as the SANZAR judicial process ran its course with an appeal finally successful on Thursday.

"It's very good obviously for our team but I also think for the game," Waugh said.

"Just looking at the incident, it would have been pretty harsh to get a week for that.

"Maybe I'm talking a bit out of school here but that's how I saw it and obviously the judiciary saw that again today so it's good for us and it's good for the game."

Elsom's original hearing was on Monday but SANZAR disciplinary officer Nick Davidson QC, a New Zealander, was unable to deliver a verdict until late Tuesday morning.

Wallabies officials then waited until Wednesday night to receive the documentation they needed, having conditionally appealed earlier that day.

A two-hour teleconference hearing then took place today before a three-man panel deliberated for 40 minutes, eventually clearing Elsom in a rare success for the appeal process.

"I always thought I had a reasonably strong case but that in itself is never enough in these sort of things," a relieved Elsom said.

"Our position was we agreed with the referee (Lyndon Bray's) call in the game and he got the call from the assistant Bryce Lawrence so we agreed with that.

"I think that what they were looking at was if it was unusually dangerous. I think it was just the interpretation of dangerous."

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans was clearly ready to move on.

"It's good to have it done," he said.

"There's just no point in worrying about those things, just get on and do your best and don't let it distract you essentially.

"We get enough injuries let alone other sources of absence and those challenges players don't enjoy and rightly so."

But Deans denied it had thrown his side's preparation for Saturday's Test in Johannesburg into chaos.

"It's not a disruption. We prepare everyone," he said.

"We're conscious of the fact there's the prospect he may not be there, but we're conscious of the fact of the prospect he may be there and he does have a good background of preparation anyway."

As well as Elsom, Deans named Waugh, centre Timana Tahu, lock Hugh McMeniman and hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau in his run-on side for Ellis Park.

NSW hooker Polota-Nau missed last year's Rugby World Cup squad and said that had caused him to change his attitude.

"I guess just developing that real love for it," he said.

"I think I was just taking the opportunity for granted so hopefully I can get this opportunity and take it with both hands."

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