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Bath winger cops ban for 'contact with eye area' of Leinster flanker

By Sam Smith
Will Muir tackles /PA

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Bath wing Will Muir has been banned for making contact with the eye area of Leinster’s Josh van der Flier during his side’s Heineken Champions Cup, Round 1 match at the Aviva Stadium.

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Leinster hammed Bath 45 – 20 in a one sided affair, with a late try for Stuart Hooper’s side putting a bit of gloss on the scoreboard for the struggling Bathonians. To add to their strife, Muir was picked up for allegedly ‘making contact with the area’ of van der Flier.

Muir was cited for incident that occured in the 14th minute of the match in contravention of Law 9.12. The complaint was made by the match Citing Commissioner, Jeff Mark of Wales.

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The charge come under Law 9.12 A player must not physically abuse anyone. Physical abuse includes contact with the eye. Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.12, contact with the eye, carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 6 weeks; Mid-range: 12 weeks; Top end: 18 to 208 weeks.

An independent Disciplinary Committee comprising Philippe Cavalieros (France), Chair, Val Toma (Romania) and Chris Watts (Wales), considered video imagery of the incident and heard submissions from Muir, who pleaded not guilty to the charge, from Muir’s legal representative, Sam Jones, from the Bath Rugby Chief Operating Officer, Alex Cohen, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.

The committee upheld the citing complaint, finding the Muir had made contact in a reckless manner with Van der Flier’s eye that warranted a red card. It was then determined that the offence was at the low end of World Rugby’s sanctions and six weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point.

The EPCR say: “Taking into account the player’s relative inexperience, the committee reduced the sanction by two weeks before imposing a four-week suspension.”

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“Muir is free to play on Monday, 10 January 2022 and both he and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.”

He wasn’t the only player cited for contact with the eye area last weekend. Daniel Ramsay of Pau was also cited for a similar offence.

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