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EPCR statement: Three bans, dismissed citing, two citing warnings

By Liam Heagney
Referee Andrea Piardi shows a red card to Northampton's Fraser Dingwall (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

EPCR have handed out bans worth a total of ten weeks to three red-carded Heineken Champions Cup players – Northampton duo Fraser Dingwall and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, along with Feibyan-Cornell Tukino of Castres, the French club who also had Antoine Tichit given a citing commissioner’s warning. Newcastle’s Sebastian De Chaves was also given a disciplinary warning, but Bath’s Piers Francis had his Challenge Cup citing dismissed.

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Northampton were beaten 31-13 in their Champions Cup match at home to defending champions La Rochelle and the two players they had sent off, Dingwall and Salakaia-Loto, have been banned for three and four weeks respectively. Both can attend tackle school to have the last week of their suspensions scratched.

Regarding Dingwall, who was red-carded for a dangerous 39th-minute tackle on Dillyn Leyds at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens, an EPCR statement on the Northampton player read: “The committee upheld the red card decision, finding that in carrying out the tackle in a dangerous manner, Dingwall had made contact with Leyds’ head.

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“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 as there were no aggravating factors, it was decided to grant him the full 50 power cent mitigation and the committee reduced the sanction by three weeks before imposing a three-week suspension.

“Dingwall is free to play on Monday, February 20, due to Northampton’s fixture schedule. However, if he applies for and successfully completes a World Rugby coaching intervention, he will be free to play on February 13.”

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Dingwall’s teammate Salakaia-Loto was sent off in the same match in the 81st minute for striking Paul Boudehent. His hearing statement read: “The committee upheld the red card decision, finding that Salakaia-Loto had been guilty of a reckless act of foul play. 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.

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“Due to the player’s good disciplinary record and acceptance of the red card, the committee reduced the sanction by two weeks before imposing a four-week suspension. Salakaia-Loto is free to play on Monday, February 27, due to Northampton’s fixture schedule. However, if he applies for and successfully completes a World Rugby coaching intervention, he will be free to play on Monday, February 20.”

Castres’ Tukino, meanwhile, was banned for three weeks for his 37th-minute dangerous tackle red card at Exeter. A six-week entry point was given the full 50 per cent mitigation and if he undertakes tackle school, he can return to play on February 6. His teammate Tichit was issued with a citing commissioner warning for leading with the forearm into the neck/throat area of Exeter’s Sam Simmonds in the ninth minute of the Sandy Park match.

Newcastle’s Sebastian De Chaves also copped a warning for making contact with Connacht’s Dylan Tierney-Martin above the line, while Bath’s Francis was exonerated following his citing for an alleged dangerous 42nd-minute tackle on Glasgow’s Sione Tuipulotu.

“The committee decided that while Francis had committed an act of foul play, it did not warrant a sending-off. The citing complaint was therefore dismissed and he is free to play.”

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