Adam Thomson 'exposed to double jeopardy'

MARC HINTON
Last updated 05:00 25/11/2012
Adam Thomson
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New Zealand rugby players boss Rob Nichol admits he's not comfortable with the "double jeopardy" nature of Adam Thomson's IRB judicial review.

Nichol was reluctant to directly criticise the IRB or new boss Brett Gosper for his prominent role in the decision to review Thomson's initial judicial outcome following the opening tour match against Scotland.

But Nichol did have strong reservations around whether the All Black's best interests had been served by a process which was fundamentally flawed.

"The fact that [the IRB is] having to revisit a decision made by someone they appointed and empowered just doesn't sit right with us," said Nichol yesterday.

"We've got to support the people in the chair making the decisions better or alternatively we've got to get better people."

Nichol felt the IRB was not happy having to intervene in its own judicial process, and had done so reluctantly.

"It's kind of recognising the people involved in the system haven't worked," he said.

"It's easy for us to have a crack at the IRB over it, but we're all responsible for this judicial process, and we've all been involved in processes that have reviewed it and confirmed it and at the moment it's not delivering. We all have to take responsibility now."

There had also been an element of selective morality, with the IRB jumping in seemingly in response to pressure from the British media, though nowhere to be seen when lenient decisions appeared to be made after Springbok Dean Greyling and Wallaby Scott Higginbotham both attacked All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw earlier this year.

Nichol said the IRB's direct involvement now was about timing and exposure, though he confirmed Sanzar's processes also allowed for review if a decision was "significantly out of kilter".

"I'm not sure this was so significantly out of kilter that it justified putting the player through the angst of what effectively could amount to double jeopardy. That's the part I'm uncomfortable with.

"What they've got to do is accept they might have got it wrong in this instance, in which case they should put their hand up and say our people got it wrong but we're not prepared to put the player through the angst of it.

"To me that would have been fairer on the player."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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