Cape Town – Stormers head coach John Dobson says they are “flabbergasted” over the three-game suspension handed to tighthead prop Sazi Sandi.
Sandi was cited for his head-on-head collision with Edinburgh flank Jamie Ritchie, which saw him red-carded in the 74th minute of the defending champions’ United Rugby Championship clash against the Scottish team last weekend.
The disciplinary panel overseeing the citing process determined that the offence warranted a mid-range entry point of a six-week suspension. However, Sandi’s good disciplinary record, early guilty plea and remorse shown earned him a 50 percent mitigation (three weeks).
Speaking ahead of their URC clash against Zebre Parma on Saturday, Dobson said: “As a team, management and group of players, we were absolutely flabbergasted with the outcome,” Dobson said in Parma on Friday.
“I don’t think anybody is more aware in rugby about the concerns for their safety than the players. Believe it or not, they know when somebody has done a cheap shot or that sort of thing.
“To sanction a young kid like Sazi like that… you can ban for three weeks, fine, but it’s looking like an inconsistent product. I think we are losing players and the public with the inconsistency.
“The other thing that concerns me that is that he gets a three-week ban, but I don’t know what else he could have done. If a player leads with an elbow or something similar and gets a red card, then that’s understandable. That’s a player behaviour that can be changed.
“I’ve watched that Sazi Sandi clip about 100 times. He has dipped and I am not sure what else Sazi could have done. I am not sure what they are telling Sazi not to do. I really don’t understand that.
“A player should be treated with some dignity and respect through the process. I really feel for Sazi. We will take this up in our own way. We have had a few URC disciplinaries now, which we must try and stop.
“Sazi was brilliant when he came on last week. We are so excited about his future, but we need to get him time in the saddle. So having him out for three weeks isn’t great, not for the team or Sazi’s development. He’s not coming here or to Wales, but we look forward to having him back.”