Ed Slater has been banned for four weeks after he was cited following the Gloucester defeat by Sale in last weekend’s feisty Gallagher Premiership clash at Kingsholm. The forward was cited by independent citing commissioner John Byett for dangerous play in a ruck or maul, contrary to World Rugby law 9.20 when he collided with Sale’s Akker van der Merwe.
Gloucester lock Slater accepted the charge and was given a four-week suspension by an independent disciplinary panel comprising Gareth Graham (chair) with Martyn Wood and Guy Lovgreen.
He will be free to play again on February 2 after missing the Premiership games against Newcastle this Saturday and against Northampton on January 30, along with the European matches at Ulster on January 16 and at home to Lyon the following Saturday.
The ten-page short-form written verdict from the hearing stated: “The panel made the following brief findings of fact on the balance of probabilities –
1. There was a deliberate attempt by the player [Slater] to clear the Sale player out of the ruck;
2. The Sale player was jackling for the ball with his head and neck exposed;
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 7, 2021
3. The player made no attempt to wrap his right arm; instead, he dropped his right arm and used his shoulder to make direct contact with the Sale player;
4. The initial contact was between the player’s right shoulder and the right-hand side of the Sale player’s head and/or neck, before moving down towards the shoulder;
5. The contact was forceful and caused the Sale player to fall backwards. However, no lasting injury was caused as a result of that contact.”
In reaching a decision, the panel added: “The player admitted that he had committed an act of foul play contrary to law 9.20, in that this was a reckless act of dangerous play in a ruck or maul that passed the red card threshold.
“In light of the player’s admission, and in light of the evidence with which it had been provided, the panel had no hesitation in finding the matter proven. Although it was denied by the player, the panel concluded that there had in fact been contact with the Sale player’s head and/or neck.”
The four-week ban for Slater was one week more than the three-week suspension given to Sale’s Dan du Preez for the incident he was involved in later in the same match.
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