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Bath explain why they didn't appeal Obano ban as they brace themselves for another Dunn red card suspension

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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Bath boss Stuart Hopper has shed light on why the club ultimately didn’t appeal the five-game ban recently handed down to tighthead Beno Obano following his Gallagher Premiership red card at Wasps. The prop was sent off in the closing stages of the April 25 defeat at The Ricoh and Hopper was perplexed when he faced media ahead of the following week’s Challenge Cup semi-final after just learning that the Obano red had been categorised as a top-end range offence. 

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Usually, the pattern for red-carded dangerous tackles in the Premiership is a mid-range entry point where players are given a six-week ban that is then reduced to just three weeks after 50 per cent mitigation is applied.   

However, because Wasps’ Ben Morris wound up with a broken nose, the high Bath tackle executed by Obano was deemed to be a more serious offence and it left the front-rower facing a potential ten-week ban before the 50 per cent reduction was applied. 

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I’m disappointed where it has ended up,” said Hooper at the time. “I find it very confusing if I am honest… we just need to be very careful about the sanctions that are given and why they are given. 

“I need clarification because what I have here is a young man who is in the prime of his career and he wants to be pushing on and playing in big games at the club. We just need to look and make sure of everything and we are clear on why it has happened.”

Hooper has now revisited the Obano situation at his latest Bath media briefing, acknowledging that the clarification he sought was received and that it tempered his initial agitated reaction to the length of the suspension. “It was very clear,” he said looking back on the decision reached by the disciplinary panel. “For appeal, you can’t just appeal because you don’t like what the outcome is, there has to be a reason for appeal. Of course, we would have loved Beno to be available for more time but the process was followed and we accepted the outcome so there wasn’t an appeal.

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“It’s difficult but that’s reality, that’s the framework, the framework was applied. That doesn’t mean because it is hard we should appeal. We appeal if we feel like it wasn’t followed properly and the correct process wasn’t applied but in this case, it was and Beno has been contrite the whole way through. He wishes it didn’t happen, it did and we move on.”

With hooker Tom Dunn red-carded in last Saturday’s defeat to Bristol, his second in six weeks, it means that Bath have suffered four red cards in their last four Premiership matches, a concerning issue for Hooper whose side won’t be repeating last year’s feat of reaching the semi-finals.

“The red cards are where we have felt the pinch,” he said, reflecting on a situation where Bath are in seventh place, 18 points behind Harlequins in fourth with just four matches remaining. “Across them when you look at them there is not a common theme.

“Tom’s one last weekend was a kind of second-man incident in the tackle and the one previously was a more off-the-ball incident against London Irish. Look, we know that those things as a group we need to brush up on those and that is something we are working on.

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“When the boys are in the high-pressure games we need to rely on our work and be confident from the work we have done in the week rather than searching for things and that is where we have probably gone wrong a little bit with the red cards.”

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Bath explain why they didn't appeal Obano ban as they brace themselves for another Dunn red card suspension

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