Ross Ford and Jonny Gray (Scotland) are free to resume playing with immediate effect after successfully appealing against their 3-week suspension for acts of foul play contrary to Law 10.4(j) (dangerous tackles).
The appeal took place today at the London offices of the official law firm for Rugby World Cup 2015 Clifford Chance and was heard by an Appeal Committee, chaired by the Honourable Justice Lex Mpati (South Africa), sitting with Justice Graeme Mew (Canada) and Robbie Deans (New Zealand).
Having conducted a detailed review of all the evidence, including new submissions from the players and their representatives, along with all available camera angles, the Appeal Committee dismissed the finding that the players had committed an act of foul play as the player had not been dropped or driven and therefore the tackle was not dangerous.
Here’s a quick summary of the Diciplinary Sanctions imposed on cited players of remaining Quarterfinal Countries – Argentina, Ireland and Scotland – following the weekend’s last Pool Stage games in the Rugby World Cup of 2015.
- Marcelo Bosch of Argentina is suspended for 1 week, for a dangerous tackle
- Sean O’Brien of Ireland is suspended for 1 week, for striking a player
- Ross Ford of Scotland is suspended for 3 weeks, for his participation in a dangerous tip takle against Samoa
- Jonny Gray of Scotland is suspended for 3 weeks, for his participation in a dangerous tip takle against Samoa
Ireland flanker Seán O’Brien and Argentina centre Marcelo Bosch have been cited for alleged acts of foul play.
Ross Ford and Jonny Gray are in danger of missing Scotland’s Rugby World Cup quarterfinal against the Australian Wallabies, after both were cited on Monday.
1st Choice hooker Ford and lock Gray, who forms an effective partnership with older brother Richie, have been cited for a lifting tackle during Scotland’s thrilling 36 / 33 win over Samoa on Saturday.
Their hearing will take place in London on Tuesday morning and will be heard by English lawyer Christopher Quinlan.
England coaches Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree will have restricted access to the England changing room and tunnel for England’s final Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool A match against Uruguay after being found to have breached the Match Officials Protocol that regulates communication between team members, coaches and match officials on match day. The breaches occurred during England’s match against Australia at Twickenham on 3 October.
Following submission of the usual post-match report, which identified the incident, members of the England coaching staff were investigated by the Rugby World Cup Disciplinary Officer for an alleged breach of the Match Officials Protocol, which prohibits unauthorised contact between coaches and team members with match officials on match day, in order to protect the integrity of the game. This includes the pre-match and halftime periods, which is when contact between Farrell, Rowntree and the assistant referees occurred.
Romanian captain Mihai Macovei will miss his country’s pivotal final Pool D match with Italy on Sunday after being suspended for a fortnight for a dangerous tackle.
The 28-year-old loose forward was hailed as a hero earlier in the week for his 2 tries in Romania’s superb comeback from 0 / 15 down to beat Canada 17 / 15 and set his team up for Sunday’s match where the winner will seal 3rd place and automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup.
However, he fell foul of the citing commissioner and has now been found guilty of a dangerous tackle during the Canada match.
“Mihai Macovei has been suspended for 2 weeks for a dangerous tackle contrary to Law 10(4)(e),” read the statement from the disciplinary commission.
Samoa coach Stephen Betham claimed Thursday the Pacific island teams had been singled out over rough play and were warned about their discipline before the Rugby World Cup began.
As the penalties and Yellow Cards mount up against Samoa, Fiji and Tonga, Betham said the teams were “tainted. We were warned at the start.”
His outburst came as Samoa considered appealing a 5-week ban on Alesana Tuilagi for kneeing Harumichi Tatekawa as the Japanese player tried to tackle him.
The judicial ruling has been widely criticised on social media by former players as video replays indicated a problem with the technique of the much smaller Tatekawa as he tried to stop Tuilagi in full flight.
“We are feeling the pain,” Betham said of not being able to field the giant Newcastle wing in their final pool game against Scotland on Saturday.
Samoa wing Alesana Tuilagi has been suspended for 5 weeks for striking a player with his knee in their game against Japan.
It means he will not be available for Samoa’s final pool fixture against Scotland on Saturday and will not be available to turn out for his Newcastle Falcons club side before 10 November.
Tuilagi was cited for kneeing Harumichi Tatekawa in the 2nd minute of the match, won last weekend by Japan by 26 / 5.
He denied foul play. But after reviewing all camera angles the citing was upheld by judicial officer Antony Davies.
Australian Wallabies star Israel Folau is battling to be fit for their final Pool A clash – the table-topping decider with Wales.
Assistant coach Stephen Larkham delivered the bad news to the media.
Folau, lynchpin of the Wallabies formidable backline, did not train on Monday, but got a run out on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old is still feeling the effects of the knock to the ankle that forced him to quit the action in the devastating 33 / 13 defeat they inflicted on hosts England last Saturday.
While he is still in the game to play the Welsh, little hope is given to wing Rob Horne, who left the England match in the 10th minute because of a shoulder injury.
Toyota Free State Cheetahs utility back Rayno Benjamin has escaped all sanction after he appeared before a SARU Judicial Hearing late on Monday afternoon.
According to the SARU Regulations, a player must appear before a judicial hearing after receiving 2 Yellow Cards in 1 match or 3 overall in a competition.
Benjamin was shown 2 Yellow Cards in their match against the Steval Pumas in Nelspruit in Round 9 of the Currie Cup – 1 for a dangerous tackle and another for a team offence, resulting in a Red Card.
He also received a Yellow Card against DHL Western Province earlier in the competition, to take his total tally to 3 in the competition.
His hearing was held late via teleconference before Duty Judicial Officer advocate Rob Stelzner, who decided not to impose any further sanction on the player.
Benjamin was therefore deemed available for selection for the Toyota Free State Cheetahs’ home fixture against the Cell C Sharks in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Samoa’s hopes of rescuing something from a wretched Rugby World Cup campaign suffered a new blow after Faifili Levave and Alesana Tuilagi were cited over incidents during Saturday’s defeat by Japan.
Levave was sin-binned for the offence he has been cited for by independent Citing Commissioner Yves Thieffine, which is for “playing the opponent without the ball”.
Tuilagi, who enjoyed a successful spell with Leicester Tigers finishing leading try scorer in 2012, has been cited for an offence which was not seen at the time by South African referee Craig Joubert.
Tuilagi was accused of an alleged foul “striking with the knee” in the 2nd minute of the Pool B match in Milton Keynes, said a World Rugby statement. Japan won the game 26 / 5.
Australian Wallabies flank Michael Hooper could miss the Pool A decider with Wales after being cited over an incident during their crushing 33 / 13 defeat of England.
The incident concerning the 23-year-old – who along with fellow back row forward David Pocock were outstanding against England – took place in the 39th minute when he flung himself into a ruck leading with his shoulder which resulted in just a ticking off by French referee Romain Poite and a penalty being awarded to England when it was deep inside their own 22.
However, the independent citing commissioner Steve Hinds decided further action should be taken.
“Michael Hooper has been cited for an alleged act of foul play contrary to Law 10.4(h) – Charging into a ruck or maul without use of the arms or grasping the player – during the 39th minute of the Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool A match between England and Australia at Twickenham on Saturday, 3 October,” read the statement form the organisers.
Hooper’s hearing will take place on Tuesday morning in London and be heard by independent Judicial Officer Alan Hudson.
Rugby World Cup disciplinary chiefs on Wednesday banned Argentina’s Mariano Galarza for 9 weeks, excluding him from the rest of the tournament, after an incident with New Zealand’s Brodie Retallick.
Galarza was found guilty of making “contact with the eye or eye area” of Retallick during the Pumas 26 / 16 defeat by the world champion All Blacks at Wembley on Sunday.
The giant Argentine, 28, denied the charge. He did not get the maximum sentence because of his good disciplinary record up to now.
Eastern Province Kings fullback Hansie Graaff was suspended for 1 match, after being found guilty of striking an opponent in their Currie Cup Premier Division clash against the Xerox Golden Lions in Johannesburg last Saturday.
As a result of the sanction he will miss the EP King’s next match against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Port Elizabeth on Friday evening.
A SANZAR Appeals Committee, chaired by Jannie Lubbe SC (South Africa) and comprising Terry Willis (Australia) and Mike Heron QC (New Zealand) unanimously dismissed both appeals brought by SANZAR and the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) on behalf of Michael Hooper.
The Committee dismissed the ARU appeal on behalf of Michael Hooper on the basis that the appellant was unable to show that the Judicial Officer erred in law in finding that Hooper’s striking of Nicolas Sanchez from Argentina was a breach of Law 10.4 (a).
The Committee also dismissed the appeal brought by SANZAR that the Judicial Officer’s sanction of 1 week was unduly lenient. The Committee found the Judicial Officer was correct in the exercise of his discretion that the offending was low-end.
As such, the player’s suspension from all forms of the game for 1 week was confirmed.
An appeal has been lodged against the outcome of a judicial hearing held on Wednesday 29 July and Thursday 30 July, which found Michael Hooper of Australia’s Wallabies guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (a) and issued a sanction of a 1 week suspension.
Under the SANZAR Judicial Rules, all formal judicial hearings are reviewed by an independent Appeals Review Officer. The review officer, the Honourable Graeme Mew (Canada), has examined the Hooper case and in his determination, referred it to a SANZAR Appeals Committee to review the sanction handed down by Judicial Officer Nigel Hampton QC.
A SANZAR Appeals Committee, chaired by Jannie Lubbe SC, with Terry Willis and Mike Heron QC as members, will hear the appeal via videoconference on Sunday 2 August 2015 at 17:00 AEST (19:00 NZ Time, 09:00 SA Time, 07:00 GMT, 04:00 ARG Time).
Wallabies flank Michael Hooper will have to wait at least 1 more day to find out if he will be available for his team’s Rugby Championship decider against the All Blacks.
Hooper appeared before a SANZAR judicial hearing on Wednesday, where he was charged with having punched Argentina flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez in his team’s 34 / 9 win over the Pumas at the Estadio Malvinas Argentinas at the weekend.
Hooper was cited to appear before Nigel Hampton – via video conference – on Wednesday.
The Wallaby is alleged to have contravened Law 10.4 (a): Punching or striking.
The hearing has been adjourned until Thursday 30 July.
Michael Hooper of Australia’s Wallabies has been cited for alleged foul play during a Rugby Championship match at the weekend.
Hooper is alleged to have contravened Law 10.4 (a) Punching or striking, when he made contact with Los Pumas flyhalf, Nicolas Sanchez in an incident that occurred in the 59th minute of the match between the Pumas and Wallabies at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas in Mendoza on 25 July.
The case is to be considered in the first instance by SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Chris Morris.
All SANZAR disciplinary matters are in the first instance referred to a Duty Judicial Officer hearing to provide the option of expediting the judicial process.
For a matter to be dispensed with at this hearing, the person appearing must plead guilty and accept the penalty offered by the DJO.
A SANZAR Appeals Committee, chaired by Nigel Hampton QC (New Zealand) and comprising Lex Mpati (South Africa) and Terry Willis (Australia) unanimously dismissed an appeal brought by the Brumbies against the decision that found Henry Speight had contravened Law 10.4 (j) – Lifting Tackle.
The Committee dismissed the appeal on the basis that the appellant was unable to show that the Judicial Officer’s central factual findings, that the tackle involved both a lifting and driving, were in error.
The Committee also unanimously dismissed the appeal brought against the 5-week (4-match) suspension imposed on Speight, finding that the Judicial Officer had not erred in principle and that the sanction imposed was not manifestly excessive.
As such, the player remains suspended from all forms of the game for 5 weeks up to and including Saturday 25 July 2015.
The Brumbies will appeal Wallabies wing Henry Speight’s 5-week suspension after the Aussie side felt the player was treated harshly compared to other lifting tackles this season.
Speight was found guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (j): Lifting Tackle, on Wednesday and will be out of action up until 25 July, which translates into 4 matches.
His tackle on DHL Stormers’ centre Juan de Jongh in the 74th minute of the qualifier last Saturday, resulted in the Springbok landing on his head.
Speight will be out for the remainder of the Super Rugby season and will also miss the Wallabies 1st 2 Tests of The Rugby Championship against South Africa and Argentina.
The Brumbies will appeal the suspension on 2 grounds – the severity of the punishment and the incident’s classification as a lifting tackle.
A SANZAR Judicial Hearing has found Henry Speight of the Brumbies guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (j) Lifting Tackle, after he received a red card during a Super Rugby match at the weekend. Speight has been suspended for five weeks up to and including Saturday 25 July 2015, which translates into four matches.
The incident occurred in the 74th minute of the match between the Stormers and Brumbies at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on 20 June 2015.
The SANZAR Judicial Hearing was heard by Robert Stelzner SC via video conference at 4:00pm AEST, 6:00pm NZST, 8:00am SAST on 23 June 2015. Mike Mika was the former professional player who attended as a Judicial Technical Adviser. The outcome was delayed as Stelzner requested information of the player’s forthcoming playing schedule in order to determine the sanction.
In his finding, Stelzner ruled the following:
“As the Judicial Officer, I considered all the evidence before me including the video footage of the incident, referee and TMO reports for issuing the red card and the submissions made for the player by his legal representative, Peter McGrath.
DHL Stormers’ fullback Robert du Preez and Sharks centre André Esterhuizen have both been handed lengthy suspensions after performing dangerous tackles in their game on Saturday.
The Sharks won the match 34 / 12 in Durban.
Du Preez has been suspended for 6 weeks – after being shown a Yellow Card for his dangerous tackle on Sharks’ wing Lwazi Mvovo in the 76th minute, while Esterhuizen got 4 weeks after his tackle on Stormers flank Michael Rhodes in the 10th minute.
Both players were found guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (j): Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player’s feet are still off the ground such that the player’s head and / or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play.
Judicial officer Nigel Hampton deemed that with Du Preez the offence was more serious and thus handing the player a longer suspension.
Sonny Bill Williams has been issued with a Citing Commissioner Warning for a dangerous tackle.
The Chiefs centre was warned for contravening Law 10.4 (e) Dangerous tackling during the clash with the Hurricanes in New Plymouth on Saturday.
The incident occurred in the 40th minute at Yarrow Stadium, but was not serious enough to warrant further sanction.
A young Canterbury club player has been banned from all rugby for 2 years for possessing a human growth hormone.
Finn Hart-Strawbridge pleaded guilty to possessing the drug, GHRP-6, in a case heard by New Zealand Rugby’s Judicial Committee. .
The peptide stimulates the production of human growth hormone and has been found in nutritional supplements.
A 5mg vial of the peptide that the Canterbury Under 19 had in his possession was seized by NZ Customs in October last year.
The substance is prohibited in and out of competition under World Rugby and New Zealand Rugby Anti-Doping Regulations. Hart-Strawbridge said he had ordered the peptide online as a “joke” after reading a series of articles in the New Zealand Herald last year about a reporter who experimented with the drug.
He told the committee he didn’t realise that importing the substance breached the regulations and quickly realised he had made a mistake after attending a DFSNZ education seminar.
Melbourne Rebels prop Laurie Weeks has been suspended for 3 weeks after he was found guilty for punching Cell C Sharks prop Jannie du Plessis in their Round 16 encounter.
The sanction means that Weeks will play no further part in this year’s competion as his team only has 2 games left.
Weeks was found guilty under Law 10.4 (a): Punching or striking, after he was sent off during a Super Rugby match at the weekend.
The incident occurred in the 29th minute of the match with footage showing Weekes throwing a flurry of punches to Du Plessis’ head.
Weeks has been suspended from all forms of the game for 3 weeks up to and including 20 June 2015.
Melbourne Rebel prop Laurie Weeks is facing a lengthy ban in the wake of his brain explosion against the Cell C Sharks at the weekend.
Weeks was handed a Red Card in his team’s 21 / 25 loss to the Sharks in Durban on Friday.
The Rebels prop launched a flurry of punches on Sharks rival Jannie du Plessis, after the latter had slapped him with an open hand against the back of the head.
Du Plessis was Yellow-Carded for his part in the ensuing fracas, which happened just short of the half-hour mark, while Weeks was shown a Red Card for landing about 10 punches on various parts of Du Plessis’ head.
Weeks will be have to appear before a judicial officer and will be charged with having contravened Law 10.4 (a): Punching or striking.
Emirates Lions’ hooker Robbie Coetzee has been suspended for 3 matches after he was found guilty for performing a dangerous spear tackle on Cheetahs replacement wing Rayno Benjamin.
The ruling means the burly forward will play no further part in this year’s campaign if his side fails to make this year’s playoffs as they only have 2 games remaining.
Coetzee has been found guilty under Law 10.4 (j): Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player’s feet are still off the ground such that the player’s head and / or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play.
Elapsed time in match when incident occurred: 49th minute.
“I considered all the evidence before me including the video footage, Citing Commissioner’s report, medical information for the Cheetahs’ player, Rayno Benjamin, who was involved in the incident and the submissions made for the player by his legal representative, Frikkie Erasmus and Lions Defence Coach, JP Ferreira,” Judicial Officer Robert Stelzner said.
“After taking further facts into consideration, such as the player’s unsuccessful attempt to hold on to his opponent in the tackle, I found the incident to have a lower end entry point. A 4 week suspension is indicated for such offending.
“The need for a deterrent in the circumstances of this incident is in my view served by imposing a further week’s suspension.”
The Waratahs have formally appealed against the bans slapped on 2 of their players and the new hearing will take place on Thursday.
The judicial hearing held on Monday 25 May found Will Skelton and Silatolu (Tolu) Latu guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (j): Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player’s feet are still off the ground such that the player’s head and / or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play.
Skelton was given 2 weeks and Latu handed 4, for spear tackling Crusaders’ lock Sam Whitelock.
2 Waratahs players were cited and suspended after the niggly Waratahs display on the weekend in their match against the Crusaders. Will Skelton was suspended for 2 weeks and Tolu Latu for 4 weeks.
It appears that the Waratahs will appeal the findings of both Hearings.
A SANZAR Judicial Hearing has found Will Skelton of the Waratahs guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (j) Lifting Tackle, after he was cited following a Super Rugby match at the weekend. Skelton has been suspended for 2 weeks up to and including Saturday 6 June 2015.
The incident occurred in the 17th minute of the Super Rugby match between the Waratahs and Crusaders at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on 23 May 2015.
The SANZAR Judicial Hearing was held by Robert Stelzner SC via video conference at 15:30 AEST (17:30 NZ Time, 07:30 SA Time) on 25 May 2015. Mike Mika was the former professional player who attended as a Judicial Technical Adviser.
Chiefs wing James Lowe has had no further sanction imposed by the SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer after receiving a 3rd Yellow Card.
Lowe was sent to the sin bin in the Chiefs’ 15 / 16 defeat to the Melbourne Rebels in Melbourne for striking centre Tamati Ellison with his knee.
According to the SANZAR Judicial Rules a player who has received 3 Yellow Cards or 3 Citing Commissioner Warnings (or any combination thereof) arising from matches in the same season shall be required to appear before the Duty Judicial Officer appointed for the match during which he last offended.
The Duty Judicial Officer then considers the circumstances in which each Yellow Card and / or Citing Commissioner Warning was imposed and determine whether any further penalty should be imposed on him by reason of his persistent foul play.
SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Nicholas Davidson heard the case and ruled that there should be no further punishment for Lowe.
The SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Nigel Hampton QC has accepted a guilty plea from Ian Prior of the Force for contravening Law 10.4 (j) Lifting Tackle, after he was sent off following a Super Rugby match at the weekend.
Prior has been suspended from all forms of the game for 3 weeks up to and including Sunday 17 May 2015.
The incident occurred in the 28th minute of the match between the Chiefs and Force at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton on 24 April 2015.
SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Nigel Hampton QC assessed the case.
James Broadhurst of the Hurricanes has been issued with a Citing Commissioner Warning for contravening Law 10.4 (g) Dangerous charging, during a Super Rugby match at the weekend.
The incident occurred in the 50th minute of the match between the Reds and Hurricanes played at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on 26 April 2015.
A Citing Commissioner Warning may be issued by the SANZAR Citing Commissioner for foul play incidents that are very close to, but in his opinion do not meet the red card threshold for citings.
Upon further review of the match footage the Citing Commissioner deemed a Citing Commissioner Warning was appropriate.
Ian Prior of the Western Force received a Red Card for a tip-tackle on Tim Nanai-Williams during a Super Rugby match against the Chiefs on Friday.
Prior dumped Nanai-Williams in a tackle that saw the Chiefs wing land on his neck and head, in an incident that occurred in the 28th minute of the match at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton.
He is alleged to have contravened Law 10.4 (j) Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player’s feet are still off the ground such that the player’s head and / or upper body come into contact with the ground.
The case is to be ruled by SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Nigel Hampton.
SANZAR has tactfully sidestepped the latest attack on their integrity, telling South African Rugby Union President Oregan Hoskins to “follow the proper channels” if he has grievances.
Hoskins, in a report published in a weekend newspaper, launched a scathing attack on SANZAR, the organisation that controls Southern Hemisphere competitions – Super Rugby and the Rugby championship.
The SARU boss took aim at what he regards as “the inconsistency of recent rulings at disciplinary tribunals” and also targeted SANZAR Chief Executive Greg Peters.
However, the SANZAR boss remained mum on the matter.
Instead a spokesperson said Hoskins is welcome to contact them to raise his concerns.
“Hoskins is aware of the correct channels to air his concerns,” a SANZAR spokesperson said.
South African Rugby Union President Oregan Hoskins has spoken out strongly against the inconsistency of recent rulings at disciplinary tribunals.
Hoskins is incensed by what he believes to be the unfair handling of cases involving South African players – compared with their New Zealand and Australian counterparts.
He referred to the recent harsh bans handed to Sharks players Bismarck du Plessis (4 weeks), Frans Steyn (5 weeks) and Jean Deysel (7 weeks) – while similar offences by Kiwi and Aussie players received more lenient treatment.
“I didn’t intend to go to the media on this,” Hoskins said.
“But frankly, I’ve just had enough.