Factors to consider
It is rare for a single physical action to result in a citing. More usually a citing will result from a complex set of actions and variables all occurring within a short space of time. Some of these may be intentional and dangerous, some reckless, and some non-controllable (i.e. accidental) which happens in a contact sport.
When reviewing an incident, it is important to keep an open mind and be prepared to find that a matter that, on first look had all the hallmarks of foul play, was after close analysis able to be determined as a ‘rugby thing’ that was quite accidental.
Rarely in the modern game do players deliberately set about to injure an opponent. Part of the citing discipline is to be prepared to give a player the benefit of the doubt if there is justification to do so. In other words, it is quite appropriate to look for reasons initially not to take action against a player.
While ultimately the decision to cite a player or issue a Citing Commissioner Warning is yours alone, it is important to ensure consistency of decision making, particularly in a tournament or ongoing competition setting. It is therefore quite appropriate to seek the opinion on an incident from a fellow citing commissioner in a collaborative manner.
Citing decisions require the wide-ranging consideration of multiple factors and the written exploration of them in the citing narrative to justify the conclusion you have come to. The factors below are specific to the charge and once considered, in combination, they will give greater insight into whether this is serious foul play or not.
This is an indicative list of factors to consider but is not exhaustive and each case is dealt with on its particular merits. You may find other things in the incident you are investigating that need to be looked at as well.
Examples of dangerous play scenarios that are likely to be cited are included at the end of each offence category. In some instances however, the action is of such significance that a zero tolerance approach is required. These are also listed.