Rugby Union: Joseph receives 'severe reprimand': New Zealand management rebuked over secret punishment

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The Independent Online
REACTION to their loss to England last month has been swift and full of retribution in New Zealand. The flanker, Jamie Joseph, was 'severely reprimanded' for his careless - and late - footwork on Kyran Bracken, the England scrum-half, and the tour selectors - Laurie Mains, Neil Gray and Earle Kirton - were rebuked for their handling of the matter at yesterday's council meeting of the New Zealand Rugby Football Union.

Joseph stamped on Bracken's ankle during the 15-9

defeat at Twickenham and did not play in the remaining two games of the tour. 'At the time the decision was kept within the team environment,' Eddie Tonks, the NZRFU chairman, said, 'but the council feels it is important to make public the details of the disciplinary

action in order that justice be seen to be done.'

There was futher bad news for Gray, the tour manager. He lost his job to Colin Meads, who played 55 times for his country. Peter Thorburn is

replaced as a selector by Lin Colling, a former Otago and Auckland captain.

So a tour record of a dozen victories, 42 tries, and scoring almost 400 points counted for nothing, or not very much.

The coach, Laurie Mains, managed to avoid the cull but he was criticised by the NZRFU for selecting Mike Brewer for the last week of the tour. Six provincial unions lodged objections with the NZRFU about the less-than- obvious decision to replace the injured Matthew Cooper, a utility back, with a loose

forward who happened to be in Britain on business.

His inclusion meant two fit loose forwards, Liam Barry and John Mitchell, watched both matches from the stands.

The old selection panel chose New Zealand sides who won 11 times in 16 Tests during the past two years. That record is good, great even, by other countries' standards but far from satisfactory for the ever- demanding All Blacks.

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