Reds drop appeal over Cooper’s suspension

2012-07-20 00:00

THE Reds, after three days of dilly-dallying, yesterday finally confirmed that they would not be appealing playmaker Quade Cooper’s suspension, but they have yet to name their team to face the Sharks in tomorrow’s Super Rugby quarter-final at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

Cooper was banned for one week on Monday following his citing for a dangerous tackle in the weekend game against the Waratahs, and the Reds have for the past three days said they were “seriously considering” trying to have the suspension overturned.

Cooper, the flashy Wallaby flyhalf, initially said he was wary of appealing as he feared that the suspension — following his high tackle on Waratahs centre Berrick Barnes — could be extended, forcing him to miss out on the semi-finals, and possibly the final, if the Reds beat the Sharks.

Cooper tweeted on Wednesday night that the appeal would be dropped to avoid disrupting the team’s preparations, but yesterday officials in Brisbane insisted they had not made a decision. The Reds finally closed the door on taking any further action last night (Australian time), adding they had wanted to appeal but had run out of time.

“We initially anticipated we would gain a better understanding of the decision by the judicial officer though obtaining the full Sanzar transcripts,” the Reds’ CEO, Jim Carmichael, said.

“However, they [the transcripts] failed to reveal any further detail or clarification on why the judgment was made and the delay in receiving these documents has made it near impossible to mount an appeal.”

He said that they would be voicing their concerns to Sanzar on a number of issues surrounding the suspension.

Sanzar CEO Greg Peters told reporters that everything possible had been done to fast-track the process.

“We have expedited the process as best we could,” he said. “The Reds asked for a transcript on Wednesday night, which is not a usual request, and considering it was a long hearing [nearly five hours] we could only get that to them at midday [yesterday].

“We will review the judicial process at the end of this season,” he added.

Cooper reportedly said he had not wanted to further disturb the Reds’ preparation and this had led to his Wednesday tweet.

“I definitely don’t want to be a distraction. But at the same time I have full faith in my team-mates to get the job done this weekend.”

The Reds have still to name their starting line-up, but Ben Lucas has been running at flyhalf in Cooper’s absence this week. Reds captain and scrumhalf Will Genia said it was “disappointing” to lose Cooper, but he was quick to sing Lucas’s praises, pointing out that the last time he was at flyhalf he scored a try and helped the Reds beat the second-placed Chiefs 42-27.

Meanwhile, the Australian has been highlighting concerns that Jonathan Kaplan — born and raised in Durban — will be refereeing tomorrow’s play-off at Suncorp Stadium with another South African, Pietermaritzburg product Craig Joubert, on the touchline.

It was reported that the Reds were heavily penalised by Kaplan when he last handled one of their games (against the Highlanders) in June.

The Reds won 19-13, but lost the penalty count 17-10.

But Reds coach Ewen McKenzie said it was not an issue, adding that Kaplan deserved the appointment.

“As soon as I saw the appointment, I knew some people would raise the debate.

“We just want the best performing referees. You want the guys who regularly do big games at the point-end of the competition,” McKenzie said.

Tomorrow’s game is at 11.40 am.

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