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Andrew Warwick banned for shot that floored Manu Tuilagi

By Ian Cameron
(Photo by Bob Bradford/CameraSport via Getty Images)

Ulster Rugby player Andrew Warwick has been suspended for a tackle on Sale Shark’s Manu Tuilagi.

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The incident occurred in the 33rd minute of the teams’ Heineken Champions Cup match at the AJ Bell when Warwick’s head collided with Tuilagi as the England centre carried the ball from deep up the pitch. Tuilagi went off for a HIA and didn’t return.

Referee Mathieu Raynal deemed there was no foul play, however, after saying the England centre initiated the contact.

That decision by the French official has been much discussed by fans and pundits after the match, and there has been a struggle to reach a consensus as to what the correct response should have been.

However, upon review, a European Professional Club Rugby disciplinary panel decided to upgrade the decision to a red, indicating that the tackle was dangerous and warranted an immediate dismissal from the game.

An EPCR statement reads: “The committee upheld the citing complaint, finding that in executing the tackle in a dangerous manner, Warwick had made contact with Tuilagi’s head. 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.

“As the player has a good disciplinary record, and as he admitted that he had committed an act of foul play, it was decided to grant him the full 50 per cent mitigation and the committee therefore reduced the sanction by three weeks before imposing a three-week suspension.

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“Warwick is free to play on Monday, 2 January 2023, however, if he applies for and successfully completes a World Rugby Coaching Intervention, he will be free to play on Monday, 26 December 2022.”

The incident has sparked debate among fans and analysts, with some arguing that Warwick’s tackle was reckless and deserved a red card, while others believe it was a routine tackle that did not warrant such a severe punishment.

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