Nathan Burdon shakes his head at Blues bad boy Rua Tipoki   18 Apr 2006

Rua Tipoki is a bad boy. The Blues midfield back is about to sit out the longest suspension ever handed out to a player in Super rugby after a "check" on Western Force player James Hilgen-dorf. His swinging elbow fractured Hilgendorf’s eye socket and left him with concussion, and it has also left a question mark over whether Tipoki will continue with a career that has been blighted by several misdemeanors.

Less than a year ago he cut open South African player Jean de Villiers eye with a punch. He broke both his hands in a fight at a "Pa Wars" Maori rugby tournament and later tried to cover up the incident by claiming he had injured himself in the gym.

No one doubts the talent of the rugby journeyman. Tipoki has one of the biggest steps in New Zealand rugby, which is no small feat, and a surgeon’s eye when it comes to cutting through a defence. He can create indecision in defensive lines which appear to be well set, a rare skill and one that becomes even more dangerous when he is paired with his North Harbour team-mate Anthony Tuitavake. Tipoki’s Harbour coach Allan Pollock described the player in the Sunday Star-Times as a "tortured genius".

"A large part of Rua constantly feels he has to prove himself. It’s a constant battle – he’s always trying to prove he’s as good as the next fella."

That’s why Harbour took the unusual, from the outside at least, step of making Tipoki captain of the NPC team last year.

Whatever happens to the little second five-eighth in the future, what this incident has once again highlighted is the inequity of the Sanzar judicial process.

The logistical problems of organising a judiciary for a competition, which is spread over three countries in three different time zones has beaten Sanzar and left it with something which is less than ideal.

In the previous week Hilgendorf’s midfield partner Scott Staniforth threw an elbow in the direction of Josh Blackie’s throat during a late tackle which left the Highlanders flanker on the ground receiving attention for some time and then got just one week for his indiscretion.

For the new Super 14 to have credibility it must sort out the issues that surround its judiciary – surely something in this technological age shouldn’t be insurmountable.

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Your Comments:

left by sean 29 Nov 2007

An outstanding talent. He is doing New Zealand, as well as Munster fans, proud.

left by reihana 13 Jan 2008

Yes I agree with you. Maybe there's a miracle around to make these critics eat their words.

left by 19 Nov 2008


left by greg 21 Nov 2008

Fuck it. Irish rugby suits him. Heard hes declaring for ireland.

left by lifemi 17 Feb 2009

he wouldn,t be half the player without me! just kidding

left by paidraig 3 Apr 2009

inspiring player hopefully he,ll be back for the semi finals


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