The three-week ban handed down to Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis after Saturday’s impressive win over New Zealand has led to criticisms of the judicial process by SARU president Oregan Hoskins.
"It would be remiss of me to remain silent because I believe the sentence was extremely harsh,” said Hoskins, after du Plessis was found guilty of ‘careless, not deliberate, contact with the eye area’ following an incident involving All Black flanker Adam Thomson.
“I was quite shocked by the outcome of the hearing and I’m concerned about the whole system and its consistency. I will table those concerns with Sanzar this week.
"Just last week, our captain felt he had been spear-tackled and because of that he’s out of the whole Tri-Nations. But the guilty party was only suspended for one match.
"There’s huge inconsistency creeping in and it’s not good for the game. It’s totally unacceptable for us to put up with this.
"I complained at the World Cup last year about the treatment of Schalk Burger – who was cited and banned for four matches for a high challenge, reduced to two on appeal – and Tim Gresson, the head of the IRB judicial committee, conceded later that I was correct.
"But I don’t want to hear that I’m correct, I want to see the system being corrected.”
South Africa decided not to appeal du Plessis’ ban, despite already being aware that fellow hooker and skipper John Smit will be out of action for the remainder of the Tri Nations.
"We certainly thought about an appeal, but it would have been a logistical nightmare before a very important game.
"It would have kept a player there in New Zealand for a couple more days unsure of whether he would be playing and a coach sitting here unsure of whether to include him in his plans or not."
Although an appeal wasn’t considered the right way forward with just a week between the Tests against New Zealand and Australia, Hoskins was keen to reiterate his disappointment at the committee’s findings.
"I’m certainly in favour of a clean game and I believe we should be given as much information as possible on foul play. But we must not have selective information.
"Showing slow-motion replays on a selective basis is tantamount to bias and prejudice, and I will be raising that matter too with South Africa’s two Sanzar judicial commissioners, Janne Lubbe and Lex Mpati.
"I’ve watched that replay for hours on super slow-mo. The fact that it was not deliberate, coupled with the fact that it did not cause any injury, means he should have been given the benefit of the doubt and found not guilty.
"There is a third factor to take into account and that is it was Thomson’s own teammate, Jerome Kaino, who played a role in the incident. Kaino hooked Bismarck’s arm and dragged it across Thomson’s face before pushing him over."