Siale Piutau has been unsuccessful in his appeal against the three-game ban he was given for punching Worcester’s Andrew Kitchener during last Friday’s win by Premiership title-chasing Bristol at Sixways. Bristol were incensed that the red-carded Kitchener was given the same length ban as Piutau, whom Pat Lam insisted only reacted in self-defence after he was punched by the Warriors second row.
Lam made an impassioned plea on live TV on Tuesday following Bristol’s win over Northampton, accusations dismissed the following night by Worcester boss Alan Solomons, also on TV. Now Piutau’s appeal has also been dismissed, an online independent disciplinary panel on Thursday evening deciding that the initial three-game verdict will stand.
Heard by a new online independent disciplinary panel comprising James Dingemans (chair) with Sam Hillas QC and Becky Essex, the outcome was that Piutau remains suspended and will only be free to play again on September 20.
A statement read: “Piutau appealed against his three-match suspension, which was imposed by an RFU disciplinary panel on September 8, for punching Worcester Warriors’ Andrew Kitchener contrary to World Rugby Law 9.12 on September 4.
“It was common ground before the disciplinary panel and appeal panel that Piutau had punched Kitchener and committed an act of foul play.
"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?"
“Piutau appealed on the basis that the sanction imposed on him by the disciplinary panel was excessive because he was acting in self-defence and because he had mitigation from his good standing at the club and in the community.
“Appendix two of RFU regulation 19 provides that any act of foul play which results in contact with the head shall result in at least a mid-range sanction. This gave a minimum mandatory sanction of six weeks.
“The disciplinary panel had then applied the maximum mitigation of 50 per cent, resulting in the suspension for three matches. The appeal was therefore dismissed.”
The judgment from the original hearing is available here.
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