Sharks loose-forward-cum-centre-cum-battering-ram Epi Taione has been handed a six-week suspension for a reckless head butt that saw him red carded in the game against the Hurricanes on Saturday.
The suspension means Taione will miss all of the Sharks tour, as well as the two remaining games back in South Africa, against the Cheetahs and the Chiefs. Should the Sharks make the semi-finals, which looks a reasonable bet at this stage, the Tongan would be available for that game, assuming the Sharks opt to keep him that long.
Nicholas Davidon, the Judiciary Officer in charge of the hearing, ruled that the act was “grossly reckless”, despite Taione’s protestations that the head butt was unintentional. The player’s former misconduct, including a suspension for biting a few years ago, was taken into account when determining the sentence.
Loose forward Jean Deysel has been placed on standby to join the squad pending the result of an appeal, which would appear unlikely to be fruit at this stage.
Lions tight head prop Ross Geldenhuys fared better; he was found not guilty of intentionally striking a player with his knee during his side’s loss to the Highlanders and will be able to play against the Crusaders this weekend.Tweet