Suspended Wallabies and Queensland Reds winger Digby Ioane has revealed his frustration at a five-week Super Rugby ban for a desperate lifting tackle he didn’t intend to pull off.
Ioane on Wednesday vowed it wouldn’t happen again but then shook his head when asked how he could avoid repeating the tackle on Sharks’ flanker Marcell Coetzee three weeks ago.
He was suspended for lifting Coetzee beyond the horizontal and then driving him, albeit without force, backwards onto the ground in a pivotal moment of Queensland’s 27-22 loss in Durban.
“Next time when I lift someone, I’ll actually put them down and say you can run through,” Ioane said.
“It’s hard to judge when they’re running at you in your 22 and it’s just in fast motion and the pressure’s on. I didn’t mean to lift up the bloke.”
Ioane pleaded guilty but the SANZAR judicial official saw it as a far more serious offence than the Reds who believed it was on the lower end of the scale.
The 26-year-old still has another two matches to sit out for the struggling defending champions who sorely missed the star three-quarter’s fierce ball-running and defending in heavy losses to the Bulls and Western Force.
Ioane was suspended for two worse lifting offences in 2008 which added an extra week onto his suspension and he has since worked hard to eradicate driving tackles from his game.
He said it was tough to watch the injury-hit Reds battle away in the past fortnight but he was cautious about criticising the length of his ban.
“I’ll leave it to SANZAR – it’s their call. I’m not going to complain,” he said.
“I guess it was pretty dangerous and I guess I got what I deserved and it’s not going to happen again.
“I’ve been working on it.”
Ioane is due back when Queensland travel to Auckland to play the Blues on April 27 but, in between, will be one of four Wallabies helping out at coaching clinics overseas during the Reds’ bye week after the Good Friday clash with the Brumbies.
Ioane and inside centre Ben Tapuai will both travel to Samoa, halfback Will Genia to Papua New Guinea and Radike Samo to Fiji as ambassadors of the Pacific in Union program which uses rugby as a social development and education tool.
More than a third of Australia’s Super Rugby players have an islander background and Ioane said the initiative was an important way of supporting Pacific rugby.
by Buford Balony