Firstly why was Dylan Hartley not cited for a similar incident? (Check it out here, thanks to the rugbydump guys for putting it up for me). Both incidents went unpunished on the field and if anything Hartley’s was more malicious. There is a total hypocrisy here and New Zealand are right to feel aggrieved. Also, I wonder if his ban would have been shorter of he had got a yellow card for the head butt during the game, I think it would. Is missing two test matches really equivalent to missing 10 minutes of a game?
The citing guys have generally gone a bit mental in the past couple of years. There is a big difference between the petty stuff and the really dangerous stuff. I am not criticising the huge bans that have been handed out for stuff like eye-gouging (David Attoub, Julien Dupuy and Juan Manuel Leguizamon). That is something that must be stamped out of the game. But players losing their cool at ruck time is always going to be part of the game.
The sheer intensity of test match rugby is what sets it apart from all other levels, of course it’s going to boil over from time to time. If players cheat then they should be punished, and if they cheat badly then they should be given bans, but let’s not treat the odd cheap shot as a huge crime. These days every time someone puts a foot wrong in a ruck they have to sit out for month, it’s a joke. Mealamu should be given a one week ban, and so should Dylan Hartley.