ADAM Thomson, the New Zealand blindside flanker, found an unlikely ally in the wake of an incident in the second half of this Test at Murrayfield that saw him sin-binned after his boot made contact with the head of Alasdair Strokosch at a ruck. The ally was Strokosch himself.
The New Zealanders were fearful last night that Thomson’s tour is about to be brought to a premature end, the incident now being looked at by citing officer, Murray Whyte, who has until Tuesday afternoon to refer it upstairs to judicial officer, Jean-Noel Couraud. Certainly, it was the view of Andy Robinson that greater punishment should have been doled out to Thomson by referee Jerome Garces of France.
“The touch judge had a very good view of it but the city officer will need to deal with that now,” he said. Asked if such an incident should automatically be deemed a red card, the Scotland coach responded: “You would think so.”
His flanker, Strokosch, begged to differ, however.
“No. I don’t think he meant it,” said the Perpignan blindside of his opposite number.
“I barely felt it. If he really meant to kick me in the head I was in such a position he could have done some damage but he didn’t. I think it was just silly rather than deliberate.”
The New Zealand management team jumped to Thomson’s defence in the aftermath, saying that what Thomson did was not malicious and only happened because of his frustration at seeing a Scottish body killing New Zealand ball.
“It looked like he (Thomson) got frustrated because someone was lying over the ball.
“He placed his foot on the guy’s head. He didn’t stomp him, which was one good thing, but the rules say you can’t, so I’m sure someone will be looking at it.
“Someone will look at the game and they’ll make a decision about if what he did was with malicious intent or reckless. I suggest probably reckless and from there it will take its course. Apart from that incident I thought he played particularly well.”
New Zealand have three games left of their European tour, in Italy this coming weekend, then Wales and England. Thomson was given an opportunity to start at six because seasoned blindsides Jerome Kaino and Liam Messam are not in the travelling party, but his big chance may now be over depending on what the citing officer makes of the incident with Strokosch.
For New Zealand, it was the one black cloud on a day that saw them back to normal business after the loss of their winning run with a draw against Australia last month.