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9 weeks of suspensions handed down but alleged testicles grab merits just 2-week sanction

By Online Editors
(Photo by INPHO via EPCR)

Nine weeks of suspensions were handed to three Challenge Cup players for indiscretions last weekend, but a two-week suspension was all that an alleged testicles grab by Stade Francais flanker Charlie Rorke merited. Rorke, who was sent off by referee Ben Blain for allegedly grabbing the testicles of Benetton’s Leonardo Sarto, pleaded not guilty to the charge at an independent EPCR disciplinary hearing.  

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The committee found that the red card was warranted, but rather than agree that the actions of the Stade Francais forward were in contravention of law 9.27 (a player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship), it was decided that Rorke was guilty of a different offence coming under law 9.11 (players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others). 

It was then determined that the act of foul play was at the low-end of World Rugby’s sanctions and two weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point. Rorke is free to play on Monday, December 28.

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Sarto, meanwhile, was given a one-week for his red card following the incident with Rorke for punching. The Italian pleaded guilty to foul play and was given a two-week entry point which was reduced by 50 per cent to a week, leaving him free to play again from next Monday, December 21. 

Castres’ Hans N’Kinsi was not so fortunate, though, as he was suspended for six weeks after he was cited for stamping on the hand of the Ospreys scrum-half Shaun Venter. 

He pleaded not guilty to the charge but the committee upheld the citing complaint, finding that N’Kinsi had intentionally stamped on Venter’s hand. It decided that the offence was in the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions. 

Six weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point and while there were no aggravating factors, the committee decided that due to the player’s plea, his prior disciplinary record and his lack of remorse, there were no mitigating factors. He is banned until January 21.

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