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EPCR statement: Bans for five players, including Springbok Mapimpi

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images)

Tournament organisers EPCR have confirmed that five players have copped a total suspension of 13 weeks for red cards and a citing last weekend, with Springboks winger Makazole Mapimpi included on that list. The 2019 Rugby World Cup winner was cited for an incident that took place during the Sharks Heineken Champions Cup win over Bordeaux in Durban and he will now miss his club’s next two games.

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A statement read: “Cell C Sharks wing Makazole Mapimpi has been suspended for two weeks. Mapimpi was cited by match citing commissioner Brian Campsall (England) for making contact with the eye or eye area of the Bordeaux scrum-half Maxime Lucu in the 36th minute of the match.

“An independent disciplinary committee comprising Antony Davies (England, chair), Leon Lloyd (England) and Donal Courtney (Ireland) heard submissions from Mapimpi, from the player’s legal representative Attie Heyns, from Sharks team manager Trevor Barnes, and from Sharks head of team culture Andre Barnard.

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“Evidence and submissions were also heard from Lucu and from EPCR disciplinary officer Liam McTiernan.The committee upheld the citing complaint, finding that Mapimpi had made reckless contact with Lucu’s eye area which warranted a red card and it determined that the offending was at the low end of World Rugby’s sanctions.

“Four weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point. Due to the player’s clear disciplinary record, it was decided to grant him the full 50 per cent mitigation and the committee reduced the sanction by two weeks before imposing a two-week suspension. Mapimpi is free to play on Monday, January 30.”

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Elsewhere, the red-carded London Irish pair Ben Loader and Ciaran Parker were respectively banned for three and two weeks following incidents in their club’s defeat to the Stormers in London. Loader was sent off for a dangerous 18th-minute tackle, with Parker following him off 25 minutes later after his dangerous clearout. Both players can have their bans cut by a week if they successfully come through the World Rugby coaching intervention programme.

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Munster back-rower Jack O’Donoghue was banned for three games for his Champions Cup red card following a tackle on Northampton’s Dave Ribbans, a sanction that can be reduced to two games if he successfully completes tackle school.

Meanwhile, Newcastle’s Elliott Obatoyinbo was suspended for three games after his Challenge Cup red card versus Cardiff. He too can scratch the last match of that ban if he attends tackle school.

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