Title-chasing Bristol Bears have decided to appeal against three-match suspension given to Siale Piutau on Monday night after he was cited for striking Worcester’s Andrew Kitchener last Friday at Sixways.
Piutau has already missed one match, sitting out Bristol’s Tuesday night win over Northampton, but with Pat Lam incensed that his player was given the same length ban as the red-carded Kitchener, they have appealed the verdict and the case will be heard on Thursday night.
An RFU statement read: “The appeal will be heard tonight (Thursday, September 10) at 17.45 by a new online independent disciplinary panel comprising James Dingemans (chair) with Sam Hillas QC and Becky Essex.
“At the original hearing, Piutau accepted the charge against him and was given the suspension by an independent panel of Matthew Weaver (chair), Mitch Read and Chris Skaife.”
The judiciary process so annoyed Bristol coach Lam that he went public with his frustrations on Tuesday night when interviewed by BT Sport following the 47-10 Ashton Gate win over Saints.
"What do I say to Siale's wife and his children if he gets a whack in the head and he can't defend himself? Sorry, your husband is in hospital?"https://t.co/V8aYVIGLAd
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 9, 2020
“I’m just extremely frustrated. When I look at Siale Piutau and the person he is, the leader he is and the man he is – in the judiciary process of both Andrew Kitchener and Siale Piutau, the messages and the inconsistency is the difficulty that I’m struggling with because Siale is being attacked by two guys.
“He is 5ft 11. 6ft 7, 6ft 6 are coming at him. Our game should be a safe place but for two guys to come at him, particularly one, and start swinging at him. Our process means you’re not allowed to strike back. Now he [Piutau] has had five concussions: if he gets whacked in the head, he’s lucky he blocked the first one. We have had Will Hurrell’s career ended (with a concussion) and he [Piutau] is getting pummelled in the head.
“But if he doesn’t strike back, if he doesn’t defend himself, which in common law you can defend yourself but on the rugby field you are not allowed to, you have just got to take it… it was an unprovoked attack. He [Kitchener] came at him – but the message is that you can do that, start a fight, punch someone and it’s the same penalty for both.
“And also to be able to swear at a referee and not be charged on it, and the inconsistencies when we talk about some of the hits that were going in there, there needs to be real clarity and shake up because the message that came out of that is wrong.”
"I felt ‘I think I’m okay’, but it just deteriorated over the game. I couldn’t understand the calls. I couldn’t remember…
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