Moody’s ban no rea­son to run for cover

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - BACKYARD BANTER - RICHARD KNOWLER

Now that a muck­splat­tered Joe Moody has been un­shack­led from the stocks, the Cru­saders have to be care­ful they don’t start tip-toe­ing on eggshells.

Cru­saders loose­head prop Moody was sus­pended for two weeks after plead­ing guilty to el­bow­ing the Waratahs’ Kurt­ley Beale in the jaw dur­ing the Su­per Rugby match in Christchurch last week­end, a fair sanc­tion for the act com­mit­ted in the 34th minute.

Yes, it was reck­less and he must take his medicine. No, it doesn’t make Moody a thug.

There will be count­less peo­ple, prob­a­bly the same ones who went bal­lis­tic in the wake of the Waratahs’ 31-29 de­feat AMI Sta­dium, who will dis­agree with the state­ment that Moody isn’t a dirty player.

Many will be­lieve he should have been banned for longer. Hav­ing al­ready chucked moun­tains of mud at the front rower through so­cial me­dia, th­ese out­raged types will now ask why the San­zaar foul play re­view com­mit­tee of Nigel Hamp­ton QC, John Lang­ford and Ste­fan Terblanche didn’t plonk a cherry on top of their hand­i­work by bury­ing Moody well and truly in the silage pit and give him a max­i­mum of eight weeks in rugby pur­ga­tory.

In a pre­pared state­ment Hamp­ton noted the act of foul play mer­ited a mid-range en­try point of four weeks. Moody’s ex­cel­lent ju­di­cial record, good char­ac­ter and guilty plea at the

OPIN­ION:

ear­li­est pos­si­ble op­por­tu­nity re­sulted in the sus­pen­sion be­ing re­duced to two weeks.

No-one could say for­mer Wal­la­bies for­ward Stephen Hoiles missed with his ver­bal grenades post-match.

No doubt an­gry Moody scored im­me­di­ately after floor­ing Beale, and frus­trated that the Waratahs in­ex­pli­ca­bly blew a 29-0 lead, Hoiles de­manded the Aussies get better at ‘‘cheat­ing’’.

Later, once his blood had stopped scald­ing his veins and ar­ter­ies, Hoiles re­tracted that in­flam­ma­tory com­ment. In­stead he said he wanted the Aussies to be ‘‘craftier’’.

The Aus­tralian TV com­men­ta­tors used an­other cou­ple of in­ci­dents as ev­i­dence of the Cru­saders get­ting away with mur­der. In the fi­nal min­utes Cru­saders cen­tre Jack Good­hue flipped Michael Wells in a dan­ger­ous tackle, and ear­lier flanker Matt Todd was spot­ted bor­ing into the Waratahs loose­head prop dur­ing the scrum that re­sulted in a penalty try be­ing awarded to the home side.

Nei­ther in­ci­dent was spot­ted by the of­fi­cials.

In their pre­vi­ous games against the Rebels and the Brumbies the Cru­saders also con­ceded four yel­low cards. None were for dirty deeds, but upon their re­turn to New Zealand the Cru­saders ac­knowl­edged they had to im­prove their dis­ci­pline.

In­stead they got lucky. If ref­eree Ben O’Ke­effe had been alerted by his as­sis­tant ref­er­ees, or the TMO, to the mo­ment when Beale got whacked, it’s highly likely Moody would have been told he could go en­joy a hot shower im­me­di­ately.

Yet the Waratahs were also ill-dis­ci­plined: they con­ceded 17 penal­ties and Nick Phipps and Taqele Nai­yar­a­voro were yel­low carded. You don’t clock-up those sort of num­bers be­cause the ref doesn’t like your hair style. The Cru­saders, mean­while, will have been sat­is­fied to be pe­nalised on only seven oc­ca­sions.

Su­per Rugby is no place for the meek.

As Hoiles ad­mit­ted, it is para­mount to play to the lim­its of the law book and the Cru­saders won’t need to be told by any­one that he was bang-on in that re­gard.

It would be non­sense for them to al­low the Moody in­ci­dent, and the sub­se­quent out­bursts of rage and in­dig­na­tion, to be a dis­trac­tion ahead of the next match against the Blues in Auck­land.

It should be busi­ness as usual for the Cru­saders at Eden Park on Satur­day night. To do any­thing else, would be to risk get­ting badly burnt.

PHOTOSPORT

Cru­saders prop Joe Moody scored im­me­di­ately after he knocked Waratahs mid­fielder Kurt­ley Beale to the ground with a blow to the head.

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