European Professional Club Rugby | Disciplinary decisions – Round of 16

HEINEKEN CHAMPIONS CUP

Ma’ama Vaipulu suspended for six weeks

The Union Bordeaux-Bègles No 8, Ma’ama Vaipulu, has been suspended for six weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing by video conference arising from his club’s Heineken Champions Cup, Round of 16 2nd leg match against Stade Rochelais at Stade Marcel-Deflandre.

Vaipulu was sent off by the referee, Wayne Barnes (England), for tackling the Stade Rochelais centre, Jonathan Danty, in a dangerous manner in the 26th minute of the match in contravention of Law 9.13.

Law 9.13 A player must not tackle an opponent dangerously
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.13 relating to dangerous tackling carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 6 weeks; Top end: 10 to 52 weeks.

The independent Disciplinary Committee comprising Marcello d’Orey (Portugal), chair, Leon Lloyd (England) and Sarah Smith (Scotland), considered video imagery of the incident and heard submissions from Vaipulu, who accepted the red card decision, from the Union Bordeaux -Bègles Team Manager, Dylan Perez, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.

The committee upheld the red card decision, finding that Vaipulu had tackled Danty in a dangerous manner that warranted a red card. It then determined that the offending was at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and six weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point.

Taking into account the player’s guilty plea and apology, the committee reduced the sanction by one week, however, given his poor disciplinary record, one week was added to the sanction before a six-week suspension was imposed.

Vaipulu will be free to play pending confirmation of Union Bordeaux-Bègles’s forthcoming match schedule. Both the player and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.

Juan Cruz Mallia suspended for four weeks

The Stade Toulousain wing, Juan Cruz Mallia, has been suspended for four weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing arising from his club’s Heineken Champions Cup, Round of 16 1st leg match against Ulster Rugby at Le Stadium.

Mallia was sent off by the referee, Wayne Barnes (England), in the 10th minute of the match for making contact with the Ulster Rugby wing, Ben Moxham, in the air in a dangerous manner in contravention of Law 9.17

Law 9.17 A player must not tackle, charge, pull, push or grasp an opponent whose feet are off the ground
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.17 carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 4 weeks; Mid-range: 8 weeks; Top end: 12 to 52 weeks.

The independent Disciplinary Committee comprising Sir James Dingemans (England), chair, Becky Essex (England) and Jamie Corsi (Wales), considered video imagery of the incident and heard submissions from Mallia who accepted the red card decision, from the player’s legal representative, Neil Robertson, from the Stade Toulousain president, Didier Lacroix, from the Stade Toulousain Head Coach, Ugo Mola, and from the Stade Toulousain General Manager, Jean-Luc Brumont. Submissions from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan, were also heard.

The committee upheld the red card decision, finding that Mallia had made contact with Moxham in the air in a dangerous manner that warranted a red card. It then determined that the offending was at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and eight weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point.

Due to the player’s clear disciplinary record and his guilty plea, and as there were no aggravating factors, it was decided to grant the full 50% mitigation and the committee therefore reduced the sanction by four weeks before imposing a four-week suspension.

Mallia is free to play on Monday, 9 May and both he and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.

Arron Reed suspended for three weeks

The Sale Sharks wing, Arron Reed, has been suspended for three weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing arising from his club’s Heineken Champions Cup, Round of 16 2nd leg match against Bristol Bears at Ashton Gate.

Reed was sent off by the referee, Frank Murphy (Ireland), in the 34th minute of the match for tackling the Bristol Bears wing, Luke Morahan, in a dangerous manner in contravention of Law 9.13.

Law 9.13 A player must not tackle an opponent dangerously
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.13 relating to dangerous tackling carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 6 weeks; Top end: 10 to 52 weeks.

The Judicial Officer, Kathrine Mackie (Scotland), considered the matter on papers and she upheld the red card decision, finding that Reed had executed a dangerous and reckless tackle, making contact with Morahan’s head, that warranted a red card.

As Reed had accepted that he had committed an act of foul play that warranted a red card, and given his clear disciplinary record, it was decided to grant the full 50% mitigation and the Judicial Officer therefore reduced the sanction by three weeks before imposing a three-week suspension.

Reed is free to play on Monday, 23 May, however, if he applies for and completes a World Rugby Coaching Intervention, he will be free to play on Monday, 16 May. Both he and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.

Jules Plisson citing complaint dismissed

A citing complaint against the Stade Rochelais replacement out half, Jules Plisson, arising from his club’s Heineken Champions Cup, Round of 16 2nd leg match against Union Bordeaux-Bégles at Stade Marcel-Deflandre, has been dismissed following an independent Disciplinary Hearing by video conference .

Plisson was cited by the match Citing Commissioner, Gary Gordon (Scotland), for allegedly tackling the Union Bordeaux-Bègles replacement scrum half, Yann Lesgourgues, in a dangerous manner in the 76th minute of the match in contravention of Law 9.13.

Law 9.13 A player must not tackle an opponent dangerously
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.13 relating to dangerous tackling carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 6 weeks; Top end: 10 to 52 weeks.

The independent Disciplinary Committee comprising Antony Davies (England), chair, Gordon Black (Ireland) and Leon Lloyd (England), heard submissions from Plisson, who accepted that he had committed an act of foul play, from the player’s legal representative, Yves- Marie Fève, from the Stade Rochelais Sporting Director, Robert Mohr, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.

While the committee determined that Plisson had committed an act of foul play, it found that he had attempted to pull out the tackle and to reduce the force involved. It was then decided that his action did not warrant a red card. The citing complaint was therefore dismissed and Plisson is free to play.

EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.

EPCR CHALLENGE CUP

Dan Biggar suspended for three weeks

The Northampton Saints out half, Dan Biggar, has been suspended for three weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing arising from his club’s EPCR Challenge Cup, Round of 16 match against Gloucester Rugby at Kingsholm.

Biggar was sent off by the referee, Sam Grove-White (Scotland), in the 51st minute of the match for tackling the Gloucester Rugby centre, Chris Harris, in a dangerous manner in contravention of Law 9.13.

Law 9.13 A player must not tackle an opponent dangerously
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.13 relating to dangerous tackling carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 6 weeks; Top end: 10 to 52 weeks.

The independent Disciplinary Committee comprising Philippe Cavalieros (France), chair, Marcello d’Orey (Portugal) and Mitchell Read (England), heard submissions from Biggar, who accepted the red card decision, from the Northampton Saints Team Manager, Maurice Hartery, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.

The committee upheld the red card decision, finding that in executing a dangerous tackle which warranted a red card, Biggar had made contact with Harris’s head. It was then determined that the offending was at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and six weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point.

Given his guilty plea and clear disciplinary record, and as there were no aggravating factors, it was decided to grant the full 50% mitigation and the committee therefore reduced the sanction by three weeks before imposing a three-week suspension.

Because of Northampton Saints’ forthcoming fixture schedule, Biggar is free to play on Monday, 23 May, however, if he applies for and completes a World Rugby Coaching Intervention, he will be free to play on Monday, 2 May. Both he and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.

notes

(i) Red Cards
a) The case of any player sent off in Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup matches shall be adjudicated by an independent Disciplinary Committee or an independent Judicial Officer as soon as is practicable.
b) Until the hearing the player is ineligible to play in any tournament.
(ii) Citing Commissioner
a) Citing Commissioners are appointed by EPCR for all Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup matches and shall be entitled to cite a player for any act or acts of Foul Play that in the Citing Commissioner’s opinion warranted a red card.
b) For such matches, clubs will not have the power to cite a player but may refer incidents to the Citing Commissioner within 26 hours of the start of the match.
c) The Citing Commissioner will have 50 hours from the start of the match to make a citing. In certain circumstances this deadline can be extended.
d) The tournament Disciplinary Officer may forward the submitted citing to a Citing Officer to determine whether there are sufficient grounds for the citing to progress.
e) The Disciplinary Officer will then bring a charge against the cited player.
(iii) Disciplinary Hearing
a) The independent Disciplinary Committee or independent Judicial Officer are chosen by the chairman of the independent Disciplinary Panel, Mike Hamlin.
b) EPCR’s Disciplinary Officer presents the case against the player.
c) If a decision is upheld, the Disciplinary Committee or Judicial Officer will be required to consider the appropriate sanction under World Rugby’s sanctioning regime, which EPCR is obliged to follow. The seriousness of the player’s actions will be first assessed in order to determine which of the three stipulated entry points (lower end, mid-range and top end) is the most appropriate.
d) The Disciplinary Committee or Judicial Officer will determine the appropriate entry point based on an assessment of a number of particular characteristics of the player’s actions, including whether or not they were intentional, whether or not they caused any injuries and whether or not they had any effect on the relevant match.
e) After deciding the entry point, the Disciplinary Committee or Judicial Officer will then consider whether the suspension should be increased from the entry point to take account of certain specified aggravating factors, such as a poor disciplinary record or the need for deterrence, and/ or decreased from the entry point to take account of certain specified mitigating actions, such as a guilty plea, a good disciplinary record, the player’s conduct at the hearing and expressions of remorse.
f) A suspension is a blanket ban from playing rugby union anywhere in the world. Players are suspended on the basis that a one-week period of suspension would ordinarily result in a player missing one match. Suspensions take into account periods of inactivity (such as the close season), periods when a player is injured or otherwise not fit to play, and when a player is not available or not expected to play. Suspensions should also take into account any out-of-season matches which are not considered to be meaningful, or which are not close enough to the season to be a determining factor in a player’s future selection.
g) Both parties to the hearing (EPCR and the player) have the right to appeal decisions. Appeals must be lodged within three (3) working days of receiving the full written decision of the Disciplinary Committee or Judicial Officer.
h) The full written decision will be available on www.epcrugby.com/discipline/hearing-decisions when the disciplinary process is complete.
i) For World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, found at Appendix 1 to World Rugby Regulation 17, go to www.world.rugby/organisation/governance/regulations/reg-17/appendix-1

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