Lam left frustrated after Nanai avoids punishment for high strike

‘We were shocked because clearly I see that as a red card’: Bristol boss Pat Lam left frustrated after Worcester’s Melani Nanai avoids punishment for high strike on Semi Radrada

  • Pat Lam has criticised the citing process after Melani Nanai struck Semi Radrada
  • Nanai hit Radrada in the face during Bristol’s 36-13 win over Worcester on Friday
  • Nanai avoided punishment on the field and was not cited over the incident 
  • Siale Piutau was cited for punching; an act of ‘self-defence’ according to Lam 

Pat Lam is annoyed that Worcester’s Melani Nanai got away with a high shot on his superstar Semi Radradra – criticising the citing process.

The Bristol boss saw his Fijian centre hit in the face by Nanai – playing his first match back since a three-match ban last Friday – and was sure it should have been looked at.

‘I was extremely surprised it wasn’t dealt with at the time and extremely surprised that Tony Diprose, the citing commissioner deemed it not to be a citing offence,’ said Lam who on Monday night lost Siale Piutau for three matches after he was cited for punching last Friday.

Bristol Bears coach Pat Lam has criticised the citing process after the win over Worcester 

‘We were shocked at that because clearly I see that as a red card. The way the process is that the citing commissioner has the final say.

‘If he feels that Siale Piutau defending himself as two guys come in at him is a red card and self-defence and yet feels that the Semi Radradra one with a swinging arm with full contact to the face is not then the one thing about the process is that we can’t do anything about it.

‘Tony Diprose has the only say on it. I didn’t speak to him about it. We have to move on and let it go.

‘Without a doubt, if that was the World Cup, everyone would have seen it. We just have to live with it and we can’t do anything about it.’ Bristol are still keen to welcome back fans for the first time since March at their European Challenge Cup quarter-final against Dragons on September 18, awaiting confirmation from the Government.

Melani Nanai (left) was fortunate to avoid a red card for a high strike on Semi Radrada (centre)

‘All we know is that the stadium ticks all the boxes, we just need the green light and we can do it,’ added Lam.

‘It will be fantastic if it is finals rugby – quarter-finals or final.’ Lam is worried, though, that Bristol might not be able to compete on two front effectively for the rest of the season, after a gruelling schedule has left them with four matches in 14 days.

The Bears play Northampton on Tuesday night, having beaten Worcester last Friday, then Wasps on Sunday before their quarter-final four days later.

Asked whether he challenged this bunching of games Lam said: ‘Not to Premiership Rugby. We tried to with Europe when they said we had to play on the Friday.

‘We said we were playing Sunday, but they really wanted us to kick off Europe and, to be fair to them, they were not too concerned with the Premiership. It was about European rugby.

Nathan Hughes celebrates Siale Piutau duriing the 36-13 victory over Worcester on Friday

‘We just got the short straw. We would prefer it to be different, but it is what it is.

‘At the end of the day, I would rather be playing quarter-final rugby even if it is five days later than having no European rugby.’ Meanwhile Sale will be without seven South Africans when next season starts in the winter, seriously hampering their European and domestic challenges.

Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Faf de Klerk, Coenie Oosthuizen, Akker van der Merwe, Dan, Rob and Jean-Luc du Preez will all join the Springboks for the Rugby Championship, according to Steve Diamond. Lood de Jager is out with a shoulder injury.

‘There will be seven players minus Lood de Jager going to join the Springbok squad.

‘Every South African I have got with the exception of Cobus Wiese has been called up including Akker and Coenie. We don’t lose them until the end of the season but we have two league games and two European games and something has to give.’

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