Yates' view: Why I believe ban should come after Wembley final

Spare a thought for Sione Mata'utia - ruled out of the Saints' squad just four days before the club face Castleford Tigers in the Betfred Challenge Cup Final at Wembley.

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 9:56 am
Sione Mata'utia. Picture: SWPix

What a heart-breaking and shattering blow to the Samoan international ahead of what would have arguably been the pinnacle of his career and now he will be forced to watch from the sidelines following a one-match ban imposed by the RLF Match Review Panel last night (Tuesday).

Not only that, he will also miss the chance of playing against his elder brother, Peter, who is expected to pull on the Castleford shirt in his final season at the Jungle.

But denying any player in similar circumstances the opportunity of a life-time is wrong as far as I'm concerned and it only takes a simple tweak of the rules governing the sport to ensure it doesn't happen again.

Some people may not agree with me but I would advocate that in future any Wembley-bound player picking up a ban on the eve of the big match starts his suspension the week after the cup final and not before it.

Rules are rules but they can be changed and it's something the powers-that-be should seriously think about.

I don't know what the rugby-mad Mata'utia family as a whole think about it but they must be devastated.