The SANZAR appeal committee has dismissed an appeal by the Sharks franchise against a six-week suspension given to Sharks player Epi Taione.
Taione was given the suspension by SANZAR judicial officer Nicholas Davidson QC for a head strike in the Super 14 rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Sharks in Wellington on April 5.
The hearing took place by teleconference Thursday. The committee was chaired by Chris Morris (New Zealand) with Jannie Lubbe SC (South Africa) and Dennis Wheelahan QC (Australia) also on the panel.
Taione was represented by Sharks franchise CEO Brian van Zyl and Sharks commercial manager Rudolf Straueli.
Morris said the Sharks had submitted in their appeal that the six-week suspension was too harsh; that Taione should have been charged with dangerous charging which carried a lower entry point for sanction; and that the act was not intentional.
Morris said after weighing up all the evidence and submissions, the committee found that Davidson was correct in his judgement regarding the charge and in his subsequent finding. As a result the six-week suspension stood and the Appeal was dismissed.