Montpellier full back Henry Immelman has been suspended for three weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing by video conference.
Immelman was sent off by the referee, Andrew Brace, in the 6th minute of the match for tackling the Wasps scrum half, Will Porter, in a dangerous manner in his club’s Heineken Champions Cup, Round 2 match against Wasps at the Ricoh Arena.
Brace wasn’t initially supposed to be refereeing the Wasps versus Montpellier Champions Cup game at the Ricoh Arena as he was originally pencilled in to take charge of this Sunday’s now-cancelled Toulouse versus Exeter game in France.
Brace was taken off that appointment on December 10 following a deluge of vicious personal abuse online which included the leaving of abusive messages on his late father’s obituary which he had posted recently on Twitter.
Rather than a round two trip to France, he was instead given a round two game in England but it didn’t take long for him to be thrust into the spotlight again, red-carding Immelman following a video review with the clock stopped on 6:19.
An independent Disciplinary Committee considered video of the incident and heard evidence and submissions from the player, who accepted the red card decision, from the Montpellier Director of Rugby, Philippe St André, and Team Manager, Tom Whitford, as well as from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.
The Committee upheld the red card decision, finding that Immelman had made contact with Porter’s head in a dangerous manner. It then determined that the offence was at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and selected six weeks as the appropriate entry point.
There were no aggravating factors, and taking into account the player’s guilty plea, clear disciplinary record and expression of remorse, the Committee reduced the sanction by the maximum of 50% before imposing a three-week suspension.
As Montpellier have a scheduled mid-week fixture in January, Immelman is free to play on Thursday, 7 January 2021, and both he and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.
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