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Disciplinary hearing vindicates latest Peyper red card decision

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

South African referee Jaco Peyper has had his latest Dublin red card decision vindicated at a disciplinary hearing. It was March when the red card brandished by Peyper to England’s Freddie Steward during the Guinness Six Nations finale against Ireland in Dublin was rescinded at a follow-up disciplinary.


However, there was no similar let-off for Michael Ala’alatoa, the Leinster sub who was sent off in the dying moments of last Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup final at the same ground.

In the immediate aftermath of the sending-off, beaten Leinster coach Leo Cullen said: “I’ll have to look back on it in more detail. You have got to just trust the referee’s call on the day.”

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Meanwhile, winning La Rochelle boss Ronan O’Gara reckoned: “It’s very unfortunate for Mike Ala’alatoa. You have got to come in at that pace to shift bodies. Unfortunately, he got his angle wrong and it’s a head collision and it’s a red card. Desperately disappointing for him because he is a good guy and he plays with aggression, but he is very, very fair.”

The Samoan prop will now pay a three-game Rugby World Cup preparation price, a sanction that can be reduced to two if he successfully completes the World Rugby tackle school.


A statement read: “The Leinster replacement prop, Michael Ala’alatoa, has been suspended for three weeks following an independent disciplinary hearing arising from the Heineken Champions Cup final on May 20. Ala’alatoa was sent off by the referee, Jaco Peyper (South Africa), in the 78th minute of the match at the Aviva Stadium for charging into a ruck in a dangerous manner and for making contact with the head area of the Stade Rochelais replacement prop, Georges-Henri Colombe, in contravention of law 9.20(a).

“An independent disciplinary committee comprising Roddy Dunlop (Scotland, chair), Leon Lloyd (England) and Frank Hadden (Scotland) studied video imagery of the incident and heard evidence from Ala’alatoa who accepted the red card decision.


“The committee also heard submissions from the player’s legal representative, Derek Hegarty, from Leinster head of rugby operations Guy Easterby, as well as from EPCR disciplinary officer Liam McTiernan.

“The committee upheld the red card decision, finding that Ala’alatoa had charged into the ruck in contravention of law 9.20(a) and had also made contact with the head of Colombe, in a dangerous manner.

“It then determined that the offending was at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and six weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point. As the player has a clear disciplinary record and due to his acceptance of the red card, it was decided to grant him the full 50 per cent mitigation and the committee reduced the sanction by three weeks before imposing a three-week suspension.

“Ala’alatoa is suspended for Samoa’s fixtures against Japan on July 22, against Fiji on July 29 and against Tonga on August 5. He is free to play on Monday, August 7. However, if he applies for and successfully completes a World Rugby coaching intervention, he will be free to play on Monday, July 31.”



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