Having written about the ‘charge sheet’ for Round 5 of the Champions Cup, I thought I’d have a look at what the Citing Officers found in Week 6.  The list isn’t as long and doesn’t make quite such controversial reading.  But on the day Chris Ashton has appealed against a very harsh 10 week ban for ‘Making Contact With The Eyes’ it does make interesting reading!

The list starts with what was a lively game between Stade Francais and Leicester Tigers, first up we have Tom Youngs, he received a yellow card during the game for what looked like a cross between a no arms tackle and a punch.  The match Citing Commissioner, Peter Ferguson has made the following complaint – Youngs is alleged to have punched the Stade Francais Paris prop, Rabah Sliming.  To remind those who may not have seen the Law –

Law 10.4 (a) Striking another player with a hand, arm or fist
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 10.4 (a), Striking with a hand, arm or fist, carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid Range: 5 weeks; Top End: 8 to 52 weeks

Ferguson was a busy man for this game – next up we have 2 Stade Francais players for teh same offence.

Firstly Laurent Sempéré is alleged to have made contact with the eye(s) and/or eye area of the Leicester Tigers prop, Marcos Ayerza (No 1), in the 34th minute of the match.

Later on Paul Gabrillagues is alleged to have made contact with the eye(s) and/or eye area of the Leicester Tigers prop, Dan Cole (No 3), in the 48th minute of the match.

And again the law they face –

Law 10.4 (m) Contact with the eye(s) and/or eye area
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 10.4 (m), Contact with the eye(s) and/or eye area carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 12 weeks; Mid-Range: 18 weeks; Top End: 24 to 208 weeks

These 2 are going to be very interesting, while Chris Ashton did make contact with Luke Marshall’s eyes, It would seem there was no intent and certainly no deliberate intention to target he eyes.  I can’t see a total reversal for Ashton but I can see a reduction.

With that in mind it’s going to be intriguing to see how these 2 offences are treated.  A screenshot of the Cole incident looks like finger/hands in the face/eyes with a level of intent.

Last but not least – we have in effect an eye contact sandwich!  With Maselino Paulino of Scarlets cited by the match Citing Commissioner, Yves Thieffine.  He is alleged to have struck the Northampton Saints second row, Courtney Lawes (No 4), in the 49th minute of the match in contravention of Law 10.4 (a).  In common with Youngs Paulino was shown a yellow card for the incident by match referee.  The Law is that Youngs is cited as breaching.

The news from the Round 5 horror sheet turned out not to be as awful as it appeared, for some that is:

Alexandre Bias suspended for one week – The Charge – Law 10.4 (g) Dangerous charging or knocking down an opponent with the ball, including shouldering.  He received a red card during the match. The Judicial Officer decided that the offence was at the low end of World Rugby’s sanctions and selected two weeks as the appropriate entry point.  Reducing by 50% taking into account Bias’ timely guilty plea, expression of remorse, good character and good conduct at the hearing before imposing a suspension of one week.

Viktor Kolelishvili suspended for 14 weeks – The Charge – Law 10.4 (m) Physical abuse of match officials.  The only sanction during the game was a penalty.  The Judicial Officer found that Kolelishvili had committed an act of foul play that warranted a red card. He determined that the offence was at the low end of World Rugby’s sanctions and selected 24 weeks as the appropriate entry point.  He then added  weeks due to the player’s poor disciplinary record before reducing the sanction by half of the entry point taking into account Kolelishvili’s immediate apology to the referee, his subsequent remorse, guilty plea and good conduct at the hearing. He then imposed a suspension of 14 weeks.

Chris Ashton suspended for 10 weeks – The Charge – Law 10.4 (m) Contact with the eye(s) and/or eye area.  Again the only sanction was a penalty.  The Judicial Officer found that Ashton had committed an act of foul play that warranted a red card. He determined that that offence was at the low end of World Rugby’s sanctions and selected 12 weeks as the appropriate entry point.  He added one week as a deterrent according to World Rugby’s memorandum regarding offences of this nature, before reducing the sanction by three weeks due to Ashton’s good character and good conduct at the hearing. He then imposed a suspension of 10 weeks.

Tim Swinson suspended for one week – The Charge – Law 10.4 (a) Striking with a hand, arm or fist.  Swinson was shown a yellow during the game. In upholding the citing complaint, the Judicial Officer found that Swinson had committed an act of foul play that warranted a red card. He determined that that offence was at the low end of World Rugby’s sanctions and selected two weeks as the appropriate entry point. He reduced the sanction by one week – 50 per cent of the entry point – due to the player’s timely guilty plea, expression of remorse, clean disciplinary record and good conduct at the hearing before imposing a suspension of one week.

T Rhys Thomas citing complaint dismissed – The Charge – Law 10.4 (m) Biting

Ryan Wilson citing complaint dismissed – The Charge – Law 10.4 (m) Testicle grabbing or twisting or squeezing

And so the rap sheet turned out not to be the total horror story it seemed.  However it’s very interesting that the 2 incidents resulting in big bans (for now) were not dealt with on the pitch in any way.

I’ll be looking forward to the decisions this week as well as the outcome of the Ashton appeal.

 

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