Calum Green won’t know the outcome of his disciplinary hearing until April 2 at the earliest after the panel investigating the incident on Wednesday night opted not to rush to a quick conclusion.
This was for biting an opponent in the 22nd minute of the first half of the Gallagher Premiership game at St James’ Park contrary to Law 9.12 – a player must not physically abuse anyone including biting.
The independent panel comprising Ian Unsworth QC (chair) with John Greenwood and Tony Wheat adjourned the hearing until next 6.30pm next Tuesday when it will reconvene in Leeds.
Panel chair Unsworth said: “The panel has directed that further independent medical evidence be obtained. The hearing of this matter will now commence next Tuesday evening.
(Continue reading below…)
“The panel directs that the player, Newcastle Falcons, Sale Sharks and the RFU are to make no further comment until the case has concluded. The player remains suspended until the conclusion of the matter.”
Rob Webber, the Sale player alleged to have been bitten by Green, received a citing commissioner’s warning for his involvement in the incident.
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) March 28, 2019
RugbyPass reported on Saturday following the incident how TV footage had shown Green getting his head caught in a neck roll-type squeeze and he reacted with what Webber complained to referee Craig Maxwell-Keys was a bite.
Following a scuffle between the pair and then an initial review of a try that wasn’t, Maxwell reviewed the unsavoury incident with Sean Davey, his television match official.
The Sales Sharks head coach wasn't happy. Again. https://t.co/XuPbfLNrGM
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) March 23, 2019
Here was their conversation as it unfolded live on BT Sport.
SD: Did you see that on the screen?
CMK: I’ve seen the angle from the main stand side.
SD: That is the only angle we have. There is obviously clearly contact with his face, therefore his arm is over his face and therefore lips. I can’t say there is a bite, but there is contact.
CMK: What we have basically got here is there is definitely an arm across the face and there is no clear evidence here that says he [Green] has done anything.
SD: From the video footage there is no clear evidence that there is a bite, but there was contact with arm and the face.
CMK: We can’t act on that live. So that is now in the hands of the citing officer (Andy Blyth) because after the game he has got access to potentially more angles that we don’t have now.
The match continued with a penalty to Sale for an offside against Newcastle, but live TV broadcaster BT Sport struck lucky as they had Sale director of rugby, Steve Diamond, already standing by for an in-game interview. Naturally, Diamond was immediately asked about the incident that had just been reviewed.
SD: Obviously it’s a long way away for me, but there is no clear evidence apparently apart from the bite mark! I don’t understand that one. If you are bitten, if you bite somebody then you get sent off. End of story. The clear evidence is the bite mark.
BT: What about the potential of the arms of Webber to be wrapped around the neck?
SD: Absolutely. Well, you discipline Webber as well, but we are on television. You don’t want to see a biting incident, do we? Let’s be honest.
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.