Dragon Taia loses ban appeal
Catalan Dragons forward Zeb Taia has lost his appeal against a three-match ban for a shoulder charge on St Helens half-back Gareth O'Brien.
Taia knocked out O'Brien in an off-the-ball challenge during last Saturday's Super League clash between the sides in Perpignan which Saints coach Nathan Brown described as "disgraceful" and "appalling".
The Dragons believed Taia's suspension, imposed at a disciplinary tribunal earlier this week, was excessive but the Rugby Football League has announced it will stand.
A statement from the RFL read: "Taia was handed the three-match ban, plus a £300 fine, after he was found guilty of committing a Grade C reckless striking with the shoulder offence during Catalans' Super League Round 23 game against St Helens on Saturday August 3.
"Taia appeared before a disciplinary tribunal again this evening to contest the severity of the suspension, but after taking all submissions into consideration, the committee deemed the original sanction of a three-match ban appropriate and ordered the forfeit of a £200 appeal bond."
Catalan reacted with fury after the initial punishment was announced, believing Taia had been harshly treated in comparison with other incidents of a similar nature this season. And they reiterated their discontent on Thursday night following the rejected appeal.
Coach Laurent Frayssinous said the Dragons would monitor future disciplinary cases to judge whether similar punishments are being meted out.
He said in a club statement: "We are disappointed to hear that the RFL disciplinary tribunal has seen fit to confirm that Zeb Taia will miss our next three games.
"We are not happy about the decision after we put together what we thought was a balanced and reasonable appeal. We will keep a close eye on any decisions that go to the tribunal over the coming weeks.
"We are a strong club, we have a group of players who have a strong mentality and we have an excellent set of supporters. This will not grind us down, but only strengthen us to perform over the next few games and seal our place in the play-offs for when Zeb returns to our team."