Sharks Tongan flanker ‘Epeli Taione will appeal his 6-week ban for a head butt to Hurricanes second-rower Jeremy Thrush.
The hearing has been scheduled for Thursday and will take place via teleconference. The appeal tribunal, which comprises a member from each of the three SANZAR nations, will hear evidence from Taione and the Sharks in mitigation of a sentence which both parties feel was harsh, given the unintentional nature of the indiscretion.
Taione has been banned in the past for biting and this incident apparently weighed heavily in the decision to award a 6-week ban. The defence will argue that the player’s good conduct since, as well as his commitment to charitable causes, including funding rugby development in his native Tonga from his own pocket, are reasons to consider reducing the length of sentence to a more reasonable 3 weeks.
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