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Antoine Dupont has beaten appeal odds and got his ban reduced

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Clement Mahoudeau/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

France scrum-half Antoine Dupont has beaten the disciplinary hearing odds after appealing the four-match ban he received for his Autumn Nations Series red card versus the Springboks. The 2021 World Rugby player of the year was sent off by referee Wayne Barnes after taking Cheslin Kolbe out in the air during the second half of the Test in Marseille that the French won 30-26.

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Getting suspensions reduced on appeal is a difficult thing to do but Dupont, who was banned for four matches at his disciplinary hearing, appealed the decision and has now successfully managed to get the suspension halved, a reduction that has immediately freed him to play again as he had already missed two games in recent weeks.

A statement read: “Antoine Dupont was sent off for a breach of law 9.17 while playing for France against South Africa in the 2022 Autumn Nations Series match in Marseille on November 12. On 16 November, he was suspended for four weeks by a disciplinary committee.

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“During the evening of Monday, November 28, Antoine Dupont attended by way of video conference call the appeal hearing before an independent appeal committee chaired by Christopher Quinlan (World Rugby independent judicial panel chair), Nigel Hampton (chair NZRU judicial committee, chair SANZAAR judicial committee) and Adam Casselden (chair Rugby AU judicial committee, former Chair SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee).

“For reasons explained in full in its reasoned written decision, the appeal committee allowed his appeal and reduced his suspension from four weeks to two weeks. In summary, the appeal committee decided that appendix one to World Rugby regulation 17 does not mandate a minimum entry point of mid-range (8 weeks) for a breach of law 9.17.

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“The appeal committee concluded that his conduct merited a lower-end entry point, and with an appropriate reduction for mitigation, imposed a sanction of two weeks. The appeal committee has recommended that its full written decision should be published.

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“The effect is that the appellant was suspended from the following two matches: France vs Japan (November 20), and Lyon vs Stade Toulousain (November 27). The appellant is now free to play rugby.”

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