Mitchell escapes further sanction
August 1, 2010
Drew Mitchell has escaped further punishment for his red card © Getty Images
Wallabies wing Drew Mitchell has been spared further punishment following his red card in Saturday's 49-28 loss to New Zealand in Melbourne.
The Waratahs flyer appeared briefly before by a SANZAR disciplinary panel on Sunday after being shown two yellow cards, and thus a red, by referee Craig Joubert at Etihad Stadium. Mitchell's first offence was a shoulder charge on All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw and his second yellow came after he swatted the ball away.
South African judicial officer Peter Ingwersen decided the cards issued were sufficient punishment and Mitchell is free to play in the return leg against New Zealand in Christchurch on Saturday.
Mitchell's second indiscretion followed a talking to for McCaw and Wallabies captain Rocky Elsom about spoiling tactics, a lecture Mitchell missed as he was in the sin-bin. Nevertheless, his coach, Robbie Deans, backed the decision. "He wouldn't have got the message but if you tamper, you pay the price," he said.
Mitchell remained full of remorse a day later, admitting that watching helplessly from the sidelines was 'gut-wrenching'.
"I let everyone down out there and it's not a nice feeling," he said."Watching the game unfold the way it did is not a pleasant feeling. It was gut-wrenching."
All Blacks boss Graham Henry also praised Joubert's handling of the game, despite seeing tight-head Owen Franks become the first of his players to draw a yellow in this year's tournament.
"The referee's pretty tough but I think that's important you get a decent game of footy," he said."If he is grey on the tackle area or grey on people throwing the ball away when the other side wants it then you've got a shambles on your hands.
"It's good that he's strict and he sticks to what he says he's got to do. You'd prefer a referee who's tough even if he goes over the top occasionally. That's better than someone who sits on the fence and doesn't rule."