Moody’s ban no reason to run for cover
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
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.
Crusaders prop Joe Moody scored immediately after he knocked Waratahs midfielder Kurtley Beale to the ground with a blow to the head.