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'Apologetic, remorseful and ashamed' Annett banned after red card

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

New Bath hooker Niall Annett has been banned for two matches following one of the most bizarre non-debuts ever in the Gallagher Premiership last weekend. The front-rower was red carded for getting involved as an unused replacement in a melee against Bristol at Ashton Gate and was red carded by referee Tom Foley.

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That match took place without the rare use of the TMO due to the fixture’s eleventh-hour rescheduling from Friday night to Saturday afternoon, so the referee was unable to review any incidents during the match. He left Annett red-carded on the basis of what the referee saw happen in real-time and the player has now learned his disciplinary fate.

An RFU statement read: “The case of Bath Rugby player Niall Annett was heard yesterday [Tuesday] by an independent disciplinary panel chaired by Sam Hillas (chair), sitting with Daniel Gore and Olly Kohn.

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“Annett received a red card for acts contrary to good sportsmanship, contrary to World Rugby law 9.27, for running some distance to get involved in a melee during the match against Bristol Bears on September 10.

“Annett accepted the charge. He received a two-week ban and will miss the following two games: September 17 vs Sale Sharks, September 23 vs Wasps.”

Following his sending off, the 31-year-old who joined Bath from Worcester in the summer tweeted: “Just want to apologise to everyone associated with @BathRugby. Not how I saw my first game going and deeply embarrassed and disappointed in myself. Players, staff, fans and everyone else associated, sorry for my actions.”

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The referee’s report in the ten-page written judgment from the disciplinary hearing stated: “I decided that the actions of Bath 16, although not serious in themselves, were unwarranted and unnecessary from a substitute and therefore decided that a red card was the most appropriate course of action.”

Annett, who was supported by character references from Bath boss Johann van Graan, his former Worcester boss Alan Solomons, and his Bath and Worcester teammate Gerrit-Jan van Velze, submitted a written statement to the hearing.

It read: “The player filed a written statement for the hearing in which he confirmed that, as a new member of the Bath Rugby squad (this was his first game for them), he was nervous and anxious to make a positive impact. He was apologetic, remorseful and ashamed of his actions, which had no malicious intent.

“He confirmed this was out of character and something he would not repeat. During the hearing, the player reiterated the above. This match was a big day for him, for his family and the club and he feels he has let them all down. He has played over 100 games in England and this is the first time he has been involved in any unacceptable action.”

  • Click here to read the full Niall Annett disciplinary hearing outcome
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