McCaw incident moves IRB to action

The International Rugby Board is considering extending the window that allows them to cite players for foul play.

This after they were prevented from acting upon evidence of serious foul play during last month’s World Cup final involving France’s Aurelien Rougerie and New Zealand skipper Richie McCaw.

Television footage showed Rougerie raking his hand across McCaw’s face and the governing body believes the midfielder would have faced a lengthy ban had this evidence arisen within the 36-hour window in which citings could happen.

‘The International Rugby Board can confirm that no action can be taken to initiate a citing case following an alleged act of foul play during the Rugby World Cup 2011 Final on 23 October,’ the IRB statement said.

‘[IRB's citing commissioner] Scott Nowland has determined that he cannot cite the alleged act of foul play as the footage emerged outside the citing period and he is unable to bring the matter within the exceptional circumstances provisions contained in the Tournament Disciplinary Rules which deal principally with mistaken identity and where further time is required to identify a player who may have committed an act of foul play.

“Both Unions have been advised of the outcome. The IRB and Rugby World Cup Limited take all acts of foul play seriously. The ongoing review of Regulation 17 governing the disciplinary process will give consideration to tournament rules and IRB Regulations to consider either extending the citing periods or widening the remit of the exceptional circumstance provisions to deal with the emergence of evidential materials following the elapse of the citing period.’