The full disciplinary rules for the Vodacom Super 14 competition are set out in IRB Regulation 17 as adopted by SANZAR.
These are the key facts.
1. Citing Commissioners - Who are they and what do they do?
* Citing Commissioners must have appropriate rugby experience and are required to act
independently of match officials.
* The Citing Commissioner has, with limited exceptions, 12 hours from the end of the
match to cite a player.
* The Citing Commissioner has the power to cite any player for an act of illegal or
foul play which, in the opinion of the Citing Commissioner, warranted the player concerned
being sent off. Therefore, if a citing commissioner is of the opinion that a referee would
have red carded a player, he has to cite the player. It is important to note that all acts
of foul play therefore do not necessarily result in a citing.
* A Citing Commissioner may cite a player even if the referee saw the incident and
decided either not to act, or to warn the player, or to give the a penalty, or a yellow
card and in the circumstances the Citing Commissioner, in his opinion the transgression
warranted a red card
* Unions or teams cannot cite an opposing player, but the Union or other affiliated
body responsible for the management of either participating team may refer an incident to
the Citing Commissioner for consideration within four hours of the conclusion of the
* The Citing Commissioner's decision as to whether or not to cite a player is final.
2. Disciplinary Committees - Who are they and what do they do?
* Each of the three SANZAR Unions is responsible for appointing a Disciplinary
Committee for each Super 14 match played in their country.
* Each Disciplinary Committee consists of three members and is chaired by a senior
legal practitioner experienced in rugby disciplinary hearings. The make-up of the
Disciplinary Committee is determined in advance of matches.
* Decisions of the Disciplinary Committee are made in private and based on simple
majority (members can not abstain).
3. The Hearing - What happens?
* A hearing will be convened before a Disciplinary Committee if a player is red-carded
by the match referee, cited by the Citing Commissioner or receives three yellow cards in
the Super 14 competition.
* Players are entitled to attend hearings which are generally held in the country where
the match was played, although consideration may be given to have he hearing in another
country taking into account e.g. procedural fairness, player travel schedules, etc.
* Players are entitled to legal representation and are provided with sufficient
opportunity to consider the available evidence prior to the hearing.
* In the case of an ordering off, the Disciplinary Committee will consider the
circumstances of the case and determine what further sanction, if any, should be imposed
on the player.
* In the case of a citing, the Disciplinary Committee will review the case and
determine whether, on the balance of probabilities, the player committed the acts of
illegal and/or foul play alleged.
* A Disciplinary Committee will not make a finding contrary to a referee's decision
unless it is satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, the referee's reasons for his
decision are wrong.
* SANZAR is bound by IRB's Regulation 17 which sets out a schedule of penalties.
* In considering penalty, the Disciplinary Committee must decide if the nature of the
offence is at the low, mid-range or high end of the scale of offences set out in the IRB
* That decision will determine the "entry point" in terms of the length of
suspension which can then be increased or decreased according to the presence of
aggravating or mitigating factors.
* Mitigating factors could include a player's good record and character, provocation,
* Aggravating factors could include the player being classified as a persistent
offender of the laws of the game, lack of remorse, the need for a deterrent to combat a
pattern of offending, premeditated behaviour, injuries.
* Players have the right of appeal to an independent SANZAR Appeal Committee. That
right to appeal is an important part of rugby's judicial process and completes the chain
of natural justice.
* The Appeal Committee for the Super 14 competition comprises one appointee from each
of Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
* Except in cases where the Appeal Committee decides exceptional circumstances exist to
warrant conducting a fresh hearing, the player has the burden of proving the decision
being challenged should be overturned or varied.
* The Appeal Committee has the power to dismiss, quash, or vary the Disciplinary
Committee's decision and/or penalty. It also has the power to take what steps it deems
necessary to deal justly with the appeal.
6. Consistency of SANZAR Judicial Decisions
* While the media and public may at times express concerns over the consistency of
judicial decisions, it is important to note that every case is different and is treated
according to its merits.
* Disciplinary Committees consider in detail all the evidence and submissions put
forward by a player. This may include video evidence, evidence from a player/s, evidence
from the referee and/or touch judges, medical evidence and legal submissions.
* Having considered all the evidence relating to the particular offending and the
circumstances of the offender, the Disciplinary Committee imposes in every case what it
believes is a fair and proportionate penalty in accordance with the rules.
* At the conclusion of the Super 14 season, SANZAR will undertake a comprehensive
review of the tournament in which all aspects of the judicial process are reviewed.