New Zealand Rugby fans can leave a sigh of relief. Richie McCaw, the captain of All Black team was in danger of being cited and suspended. The net was filled with “Richie McCaw suspended for the World Cup Final,” over the weekend, even though the citing officer had time till 6 am of Monday, October, 26, 2015 to file relevant complaint and suspend McCaw.

The incident
On Saturday, 24th October, 2015, New Zealand and South Africa played the semi final at Twickenham. It was during this match that McCaw’s action on the field raised eyebrows. During the game, the captain of All Blacks team apparently injured South Africa’s openside flanker, Francois Louw, by using his elbow. In the process, Louw sustained two injuries during the game, which were attended on after the game. The treatment included 20 stitches on hisLouw’s forehead.

What did Louw have to say?
Louw was asked about the incident, but he was unsure. He added that he thought “it was at the bottom of a ruck”. This statement from the Bath flanker pushed the ball in the court of citing officer. Effectively, the citing officer needed to inquire and judiciously assess the incident and malafide intent, if any.

The code
The game is governed by a set of laws and code of conduct. The 10.4a of those laws cover misconduct and dangerous play. The citing officer gets time of 36 hours, to give citation and suspend the player, in this case Richie McCaw, if convinced of the player’s guilt. The suspension is for limited period, i.e., 2 weeks. But it had huge implications for New Zealand, because the final in this year’s Rugby World Cup would be played on October 31, 2015, and All Blacks would be playing winner of Australia and Argentina, both of which teams are formidable teams. McCaw incidentally has proved to be great leader, providing motivation and inspiration to his team.

So is Richie McCaw suspended?
Apparently not. The New Zealand captain has survived this episode in Semi final. He received benefit of doubt for his collision with Louw in the final four. Consequently, he will play the 2015 Rugby World Cup final, on October, 31, 2015.

The reason
As per the investigations, it is understood that All Black’s captain had used hip to catch Louw on his shoulder. This sort of makes the incident seem innocuous in comparison to what was being insinuated. The fact that McCaw did not receive any citation was announced by the World Rugby team.

Semi-final results and final
It may be recalled that New Zealand won the first semi-final beating South African team with a score of 20-18. The incident that led to Louw’s injury happened at approximately 20 minutes after the game began. The second semi final was played between Australia and Argentina on Sunday, the 25th of October, 2015. Steve Hansen, New Zealand Team’s coach has consistently rubbished the news of McCaw’s suspension. The press did get ahead of itself on this one. As things stand, New Zealand will be playing the final with Australia on October 31, 2015. This is the first time these two teams will face each other. McCaw’s presence is absolutely necessary for New Zealand team’s morale.

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