All Black Adam Thomson will make a midweek detour to London in a bid to save his tour after being cited for stamping or trampling on an opponent’s head during Monday's win over Scotland.
Thomson's defence will involve backs coach Ian Foster, the All Blacks’ European based lawyer Owen Eastwood and a glowing endorsement from the man whose Scottish noggin he nudged with his sprigs.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen's more immediate concerns were possible fractures to utility backs Ben Smith (eye socket) and Tamati Ellison (toe) with the pair set to have X-rays today when the team arrives in Rome.
But for Thomson his thoughts will have already turned to his date with the IRB judiciary at Heathrow Airport tomorrow.
Hansen can bring in a replacement player, but said it was pointless to speculate on what sort of punishment the blindside flanker might get.
"I don’t know. We'll just have to wait and see what, A, they've charged him with and, B, how the whole process goes. At this point it's out of my hands so I’m not worrying about it. We’ll deal with it as we go.
"We can make a huge deal out of it, but we know what we’re facing. We’ll go in and have a good hearing I’m sure. We’ll get heard as we always do and hope for the best.
"Until we know the result of the hearing there’s no point panicking about it."
Hansen said he had discussed the incident with Thomson and was satisfied there was no malicious intent when he made contact with flanker Alasdair Strokosh in the 44th minute.
"He spoke to the guy after the game and apologised and the guy said, 'don't worry about it, it was nothing', so from that point of view that’s what you want your athlete to do.
"Again, I keep going back to the same answer that until such time as you sit down with the people in the hearing that are involved, we are none the wiser…
"We can all have our opinions on it, but at the end of the day they’ll be the people who make the decision."
Hansen, a former policeman, has traditionally been the man sent to accompany players who are sent to the judiciary, but, as head coach, will hand the role to Foster.
Thomson will be in good hands with Eastwood the same legal man who represented hooker Keven Mealamu in Glasgow in 2010. On that occasion he managed to get a four-week suspension for head butting reduced to two.
The All Blacks boarded a charter flight to Rome today with Ben Smith sporting a nasty black eye, but fullback Israel Dagg apparently suffering no ill effects from the injury that forced him off Murrayfield after 24 minutes.
"He's made a good recovery this morning, but we have three hours travel in the plane so we’ll see how he comes through that and make a decision," Hansen said.
"It's just bruising of the buttock. When you fall on your bum like that your spine gets a hell of a jolt, so I think that's what happened.
"He got a bit of a knock to the head, but his heads as clear as a bell this morning, so doc's pretty happy with the way he recovered. If he gets through the flight hopefully he’ll be good to go"
- © Fairfax NZ News
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