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France's Willemse and Ireland centre Aki get date for disciplinary hearings

By Ciarán Kennedy
(Photo by John Berry/Getty Images)

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France second row Paul Willemse and Ireland centre Bundee Aki have been given a date for their disciplinary hearings following their red cards over the weekend. Willemse was sent off during France’s dramatic defeat of Wales on Saturday evening, while earlier in the day Aki saw red in the second half of Ireland’s impressive win over England.

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Both players will attend their hearings via video conference tomorrow (March 23).

Willemse was red-carded by referee Luke Pearce with 11 minutes to play after making contract with the eye are of Wales prop Wyn Jones. France have one game remaining in their Six Nations campaign as they host Scotland on Friday night, a fixture which will decide the outcome of this year’s championship.

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Stephen Ferris | All Access
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Stephen Ferris | All Access

After the game France boss Fabien Galthie outlined his unhappiness with the decision, accusing the Welsh team of specialising in getting opponents sent off.

“If you watch the video there is clearly no contact, or if there is it’s clearly very limited,” Galthie said.

“It’s absolutely not voluntary. I believe we need to share this, I don’t see why he should be sanctioned.”

Willemse will now face a disciplinary hearing for an infringement of Law 9.12, which covers dangerous play, contact with eye or eye area.

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The law states “a player must not physically or verbally abuse anyone. Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, biting, punching, contact with the eye or eye area, striking with any part of the arm (including stiff-arm tackles), shoulder, head or knee(s), stamping, trampling, tripping or kicking.”

Ireland centre Aki was dismissed for a high tackle on England’s Billy Vunipola, and will face a hearing for an infringement of law 9.13, covering dangerous play during a tackle.

The law states “a player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously. Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, tackling or attempting to tackle an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders.”

Aki’s red card split opinion, and Ireland head coach Andy Farrell admitted he had sympathy for the Connacht player.

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“The rules are the rules but at the same time, it is very tough,” Farrell said.

“I’ll look at it again but Billy seemed to be on a downward motion certainly with his head, but if there is any contact they are stringent with that at this moment of time.”

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France's Willemse and Ireland centre Aki get date for disciplinary hearings

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