Taione head-butting hearing delayed

2008-04-07 00:00

THE outcome of the Epi Taione head-butting incident will only be made known today after yesterday’s mandatory hearing (a red card offence like head-butting automatically results in a judicial hearing) was postponed a day.

The video evidence is pretty damning and there is little room for interpretation, but given the big Tongan’s disciplinary record, he may receive a lighter sentence than a serial offender might.

The Sharks have elected not to send out a replacement, but it seems the candidate would be Jean Deysel.

The eighthman, who was signed from the Lions last year, would be the obvious replacement as he is big, bruising and physical.

Good news from the camp is that no injuries resulted from the game. Encounters with the Hurricanes have traditionally been confrontational and given the Sharks’ defensive mode, they may well have had to nurse some bumps and bruises.

Johann Muller has come out promising a renewed approach in which the reliance on an effective defensive strategy is not to the detriment of their attack.

The Sharks backline has spent more time tackling than attacking and it is now time to cut loose.

The Sharks captain has admitted that a conservative element has entered their game, “and we are in a situation where we are waiting for tries to happen, instead of being proactive about making things happen for us”.

Because they have played low risk rugby, forced the opposition to attack, defended well and then forced the mistakes, they have almost forgotten how to attack themselves.

The Highlanders may have won one match, but they havn’t been mugs on defence, conceding 21 tries in their seven games, which is the best of the bottom six.

“It is clear that our defence has been carrying us,” admits Muller.

“Although we can use our excellent defence as a safety net while we attack more, we need to start taking risks.”

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