England prop Joe Marler receives ban
The Harlequins prop, Joe Marler, has been suspended for three weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in London on Wednesday, 25 October arising from his club’s Champions Cup, Round 2 match against Wasps at the Ricoh Arena.
Marler was cited by the match Citing Commissioner, Murray Whyte (Ireland), for striking the Wasps second row, Will Rowlands (No 5), with his elbow in the 48th minute of the match in contravention of Law 10.4 (a).
An independent Disciplinary Committee consisting of Jeremy Summers (England), Chairman, Rhian Williams (Wales) and Frank Hadden (Scotland), heard evidence and submissions from Marler, who pleaded guilty, from the player’s legal representative, Sam Jones, from the Harlequins Team Manager, Graeme Bowerbank, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.
The Committee upheld the citing complaint and determined that the offence had warranted a red card, but decided after consideration that the strike by the player was with the arm rather than the elbow.
Law 10.4 (a) Striking with the arm
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 10.4 (a), striking with the arm, carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 4 weeks; Top end: 8 to 52 weeks.
The Committee found that the offence was at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and selected four weeks as the appropriate entry point. It then reduced the sanction by one week due to the player’s guilty plea and expression of remorse before imposing a suspension of three weeks.
In deciding that Marler is suspended until midnight on Sunday, 19 November, the panel took into account the player’s likely playing commitments in the coming weeks. Both Marler and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.
Meanwhile Northampton Saints have issued the following statement in response to the outcome of Dylan Hartley’s citing.
The citing complaint against Hartley has today been dismissed by an independent panel and the hooker is free to play against Wasps on Saturday in the Aviva Premiership at Franklin’s Gardens.
Saints’ director of rugby Jim Mallinder said:
“The decision to cite Dylan from Saturday’s game against Clermont was unjustified. This was a run-of-the-mill rugby incident during a high intensity game of European rugby.
“Anyone who watched the game could see that this was completely accidental – a misjudgement at a clear–out, plain and simple. When we should be preparing for a crucial league game against Wasps this Saturday, we have instead been distracted by what we believe was an unwarranted judicial hearing.
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