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Exeter pair apply for tackle school after receiving bans

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Ryan Hiscott/Getty Images)

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Exeter Chiefs duo Tom Hendrickson and Jannes Kirsten have been banned for three matches each following their appearance on Tuesday night at a virtual independent disciplinary hearing after charges arising from last Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership loss away to Worcester.

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Midfielder Hendrickson was red-carded for dangerous tackling while back-rower Kirsten was cited for dangerous play during the first half at Sixways. After accepting the charges, the players were banned and will miss the upcoming matches versus Worcester (March 19, Premiership Cup), Leicester (March 27, Premiership) and Bath (April 2, Premiership). 

That final game of their suspension against Bath could be scratched, however, as both Hendrickson and Kirsten have applied to attend tackle school, the World Rugby coaching intervention process.     

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Regarding the Hendrickson incident, panel chair Gareth Graham said: “The player accepted that he had made a dangerous tackle that passed the red card threshold. The panel concluded that this was a reckless tackle, delivered with some force, that made direct contact to the head of the opposition player (causing him to be removed from the field and subsequently fail his HIA1, 2 and 3). 

“The panel accepted that in the circumstances, the mandatory minimum entry-point of six weeks (for offences where there is contact with the head/neck area) was appropriate. 

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“A reduction by way of mitigation was given on account of the acceptance of the charge, the lack of any previous offending, and the remorse and conduct demonstrated by the player. The player will miss the next three matches for the club, subject to the player’s application to World Rugby for a week of his suspension to be replaced with the successful completion of the coaching intervention programme.”

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Regarding the Kirsten incident, Graham added: “The player accepted that he had committed an act of dangerous play in a ruck or maul that passed the red card threshold. The player had cleared out another player at a ruck dangerously, making direct contact with his right shoulder to the head of his opponent. 

“This was a reckless act that fortunately caused no injury. The panel accepted that in the circumstances, the mandatory minimum entry-point of six weeks (for offences where there is contact with the head/neck area) was appropriate.

“A reduction by way of mitigation was given on account of the acceptance of the charge, the lack of any previous offending, and the remorse demonstrated by the player. The player will miss the next three matches for the club, subject to the player’s application to World Rugby for a week of his suspension to be replaced with the successful completion of the coaching intervention programme.”

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