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EPCR hit out at 'deficient' measures taken to prevent cancelled match and impose hefty punishment

By Online Editors
Match ball in snow. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Northampton Saints have found out the result of a misconduct complaint against their Challenge Cup opponents Timisoara Saracens following the cancellation of their Round 4 match in Romania.

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The misconduct complaint said Timisoara Saracens did not take all appropriate steps to prepare and protect the playing surface at the Dan Paltinisanu Stadium in contravention of the Tournament Rules of the 2018/19 Challenge Cup Participation Agreement.

Heavy snow had rendered the pitch at the Dan Paltinisanu Stadium unplayable, leaving Match Referee Joy Neville with no option but to cancel the fixture.

An independent Disciplinary Committee consisting of Professor Lorne Crerar (Scotland), Chair, Philippe Cavalieros (France) and Val Toma (Romania), found that Timisoara Saracens had not taken all appropriate measures to ensure the pitch was playable.

In a statement from the EPCR it said: “The Committee determined that Timisoara Saracens’ preparation of the playing surface was deficient in that pitch covers were not in place, the undersoil heating system was not ready in good time and that no suitable alternative venue for the match was available.

“The Committee also found that there were no exceptional circumstances and it decided to award five match points to Northampton Saints on the basis of a four-try bonus point result of 28-0 and imposed a fine of €30,000 on Timisoara Saracens.

Both Timisoara Saracens and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.

Meanwhile an independent Appeal Committee also refused an appeal by the Sale Sharks player, Andrei Ostrikov, against the four-week suspension imposed on him by an independent Disciplinary Committee after he was sent off for foul play during his club’s Challenge Cup, Round 3 match against Bordeaux-Bègles.

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At the initial Disciplinary Hearing, the red card decision was upheld as it was determined that Ostrikov had struck the Bordeaux-Bègles centre, Jean-Baptiste Dubié, with his arm in contravention of Law 9.12.

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