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Sunday, September 04, 2011

Romana Graham headbutt on Sean Maitland in ITM Cup Final

Canterbury claimed their fourth consecutive New Zealand provincial championship title as they won the ITM Cup Final, beating Waikato 12-3 in a tense affair on Saturday. Here's one of the games's more controversial moments.

It was the first ever tryless final in the NPC, as Waikato Stadium witnessed a hard fought battle that boiled over in the 60th minute as fullback Sean Maitland and lock Romana Graham came to blows off the ball.

Maitland had thrown a shocker of a pass before Graham, himself no stranger to a bit of the rough stuff, stuck his shoulder into the Canterbury flyer. Maitland retaliated, and a scuffle broke out that seemed to be just a bit of handbags before Graham stepped things up a level.

It was missed by the onfield officials and to this point it seems as though there has been no citing. We'll keep an eye on how that develops but as it's the end of the season, it's possibly a tricky one. You'd expect a blatant headbutt to land him a hefty few months out of the game though.

As for the rest of the match, there weren't too many other highlights worth showing, but it was one of those old fashioned type of arm-wrestles, which Canterbury won thanks to some good kicking from young Tom Taylor, who slotted all his kicks at goal.

"This is for the people of Christchurch," said captain George Whitelock afterwards. "It's the way we played in the second half, we really closed the game out from Waikato and for such a young group to do that is really pleasing, so the future of Canterbury rugby's really strong," he added.

Update: Graham has now been cited

Time: 01:20



  • Maitland tried to gouge him afterwards though?

    By Anonymous Cheg, at September 04, 2011 1:41 pm  

  • A full back staying standing after a head-butt from a lock. My verdict a verbal warning but no ban as the lock clearly meant no serious damage, otherwise the fullback would be lying unconscious bleeding.

    By Anonymous Citing Commissioner, at September 04, 2011 1:42 pm  

  • Disgusting, deserves to be out until Easter. Im delighted Waikato lost purely because of that disgusting behaviour, you could tell he knew he'd stepped over the mark from how sheepish he looked, and the disgust on Messam's face.

    By Anonymous Michael, at September 04, 2011 1:44 pm  

  • exactly, maitland was absolutley going for that guys eye, thats the real shocker!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 04, 2011 2:08 pm  

  • Eyegouge?? You're kidding. He pushed his hand up to a bigger man.

    Strange eyegouging technique if thats what it was.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 04, 2011 3:04 pm  

  • maitland almost deserves it for that shocking pass

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 04, 2011 3:04 pm  

  • What about the fingers in his eyes almost immediately afterwards?

    By Blogger JoelTaylor, at September 04, 2011 3:21 pm  

  • Citing Commissioner - are you having a laugh mate? so if a second row stamped on a fullbacks head in a ruck but "didnt mean any serious damage" a verbal warning is sufficient? get a grip sunshine

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 04, 2011 4:36 pm  

  • Maybe a weeks ban, nothing more.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 04, 2011 4:40 pm  

  • It's really a headbutt, but I've seen people clash their heads together like that just squaring off... it wasn't that bad really. Definitely uncalled for though.

    As for the fingers in the eye... I really don't understand it. It will get you a longer punishment than a punch, it is not as effective at shutting someone up as a punch (it just makes them go to the referee), it's cowardly. Why do people gouge? I just don't get it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 04, 2011 4:56 pm  

  • "Eyegouge?? You're kidding. He pushed his hand up to a bigger man.

    Strange eyegouging technique if thats what it was."

    He put his fingers in his eye mate. Whether it was a push or not (didn't really look like one to be honest, and there are easier / more effective areas to push someone than the face) his fingertips ended up in the guy's eye.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 04, 2011 4:59 pm  

  • Assess the penalty to both and play on. Too much focus on hockey like scuffles. PLAY ON!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 04, 2011 5:03 pm  

  • this is just a little scuffle, nothing more. the headbutt seemed quite tame and the eye gouge was half hearted. best just leaving it and not wasting time banning people over this.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 04, 2011 5:05 pm  

  • Everyone's on the eyegouge bandwagon, it's ridiculous. If there's a push and shove and you push a guy in the face and your finger happens to possibly touch his eye, that is by no means a deliberate eyegouge.

    As for the headbutt, I'd say that was fairly conclusive.

    By Anonymous Flinto, at September 04, 2011 5:13 pm  

  • fucking chav scum

    By Anonymous Chris Boy, at September 04, 2011 5:17 pm  

  • a head-butt's a head-butt, I don't think the rules apply to the level of effectiveness, so weather he sprawled him out or not doesn't matter...and thank god too, you'd have dives in no time if you started taking that into consideration.

    Same goes for sticking fingers in someones eyes, he clearly aimed his finger at that area, "pushing his hand up to a bigger man"...I don't get your point there, does it only count as a cowardly act if certain size requirements are met? If he did it to a guy with a contact lens and broke would it more against the rules?
    Come on guys, everyone knows there are camera's around, why risk it?

    oh and Maitland, you deserve some sort of punishment for that pass mate, terrible stuff!

    By Anonymous I hate ppl who write "First!", at September 04, 2011 5:37 pm  

  • Lol people that is not an eye gouge, it's called pushing somebody in the face after they've headbutted you..his fingers would have been hooked and would have performed a sort of scratching technique if he was going for the gouge...

    All he does is push him away, or try to at least..if he had gouged or went for the gouge do you really think that lock would have just walked away...

    Stop looking for trouble where there is none to be found...

    By Blogger themull, at September 04, 2011 6:09 pm  

  • @themull

    What are you talking about? He curves his finger into his eye socket. Yes, he gave a bit of a push after, but not before blatantly curving his finger into the guy's eye. That's as clear a gouge as any.

    By Anonymous JAMIE, at September 04, 2011 6:34 pm  

  • Didn't anybody see what started it?

    Blcoking a player without the ball, that was worth a penalty.

    The rest, headbut and hand-off/eye gouging is just a bit off handbagging after play is dead who cares.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 04, 2011 9:30 pm  

  • To all those blind over-reacting idiots. There clearly wasn't an intentional eye gouge! He pushed his face away, being a whole head shorter i'm surprised he even got there, but that's what the intention was. A push.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 04, 2011 10:36 pm  

  • Anyone who thinks that is a deliberate eye gouge is clearly deluded. Maitland took a headbutt to the face and reacted by pushing Graham away in the face. If he intended to make contact with the eyes he would have done better than that. It's not hard is it...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 04, 2011 10:47 pm  

  • All these silly brawls drive me nuts... jeez, I miss the old manly fisticuffs... anyone remember Wales v New Zealand, a long, long time ago?

    No pussy eye gouging, no headbutts, no shoving... just pure fist to face! And them "Hey, mate, let's get outta here and get a beer. Oh, and probably something for your chin".

    Let's not forget that rugby is a sport for real MEN! If you don't like it, there's lots of sports out there to choose.


    By Anonymous Juggernauter, at September 04, 2011 11:30 pm  

  • It's ok, he's not a french guy... 1 week ban max

    By Anonymous SuperG, at September 04, 2011 11:42 pm  

  • Not an eye gouge you bunch of mummys boy twats!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 05, 2011 12:54 am  

  • You gotta watch league if you want to see some proper fisticuffs.
    Anyway, Cooper got off scot free for a blatant knee to the head of mccaw so graham shouldnt have anything to worry about.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 05, 2011 1:07 am  

  • That's not an eye gouge.
    He just pushes him in the face.
    The second rower would have reacted if he thought it was a gouge. There's also virtually no real history of eye gouging in domestic NZ rugby.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 05, 2011 4:28 am  

  • Whilst at first I would immediately shout "cite him for the headbutt!", a bit of common sense says make sure the message gets to Graham (and maybe even Maitland) through the club that he should control himself a bit more and leave it at that. The season's over for everyone involved anyway. It's just handbags and we should all move on - there's a world cup on soon don't you know?

    By Blogger stefan, at September 05, 2011 8:37 am  

  • Romana is a beast, the guy loves a biff!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 05, 2011 8:53 am  

  • Graham's not a mongrel.....


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 05, 2011 9:33 am  

  • I'm pretty sure if we can get a PICTURE of the eye gouge and give it to the right citing commissionner, we can get a ban longer than 40 weeks.

    "no eyegouge", yeah, right...

    By Anonymous D. Attoub, at September 05, 2011 11:05 am  

  • nice crowd for a cup final

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 05, 2011 11:27 am  

  • Clearly an eyegauge

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 05, 2011 4:39 pm  

  • Anonymous at 4:39 PM said...
    Clearly an eyegauge

    You think he was trying to measure the bloke's eyes???

    By Anonymous Von, at September 05, 2011 5:32 pm  

  • Yes, eyegauge. Look at clip, from min. 0.43 0.45.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 05, 2011 6:29 pm  

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