The case against Sale Sharks wing Mike Haley for striking Josh Bassett at the weekend has been was heard “on papers” by an independent disciplinary panel this evening.
Haley was cited by independent citing commissioner Shaun Gallagher for striking Wasps’ Bassett with his arm, contrary to Law 9.12. The incident occurred in the 77th minute of the match between Sale Sharks and Wasps on Friday 6 April 2018.
Haley pleaded guilty to the charge and was suspended for two weeks and is free to play again on 1 May 2018.
Chair of the panel Gareth Graham said: “The player pleaded guilty to the charge and accepted that he had made contact with the head of an opponent.
The panel were mandated to find this a mid-range entry point which carries a starting point of four weeks.
The player pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, apologised to the Wasps’ player and has a clear record therefore he was entitled to the maximum mitigation of 50%. The player is suspended for two weeks and is free to play again on the 1 May 2018.”
He is the second Sale Sharks player to be banned within a week.
England international Denny Solomona was banned for four weeks over an alleged homophobic slur during a Premiership match between Sale Sharks and Worcester Warriors.
An RFU disciplinary hearing charged him “with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the union or the game, contrary to RFU Rule 5.12.”
The incident happened during the second half of the match played on Saturday March 24th. Solomona contested the charge but was found guilty by the three-person independent panel.
An initial six week ban was reduced to a four week suspension for “mitigating features”.
The England winger has always denied making a homophobic remark to Jamie Shillcock and in a statement Sale backed their player.
“The club believes Denny, he is a decent and honest person and maintains that no homophobic words were exchanged during the Aviva Premiership match against Worcester Warriors on March 24th.”
“The RFU disciplinary panel decided, on the balance of probability but with absolutely no other evidence, that Denny had said those words based on Jamie Shillcock’s reaction only. They also did not believe that Mr Shillcock had sought out Denny after the game and apologised to him.”
“After serious consideration, Sale Sharks have come to the conclusion that there are significant risks as well as legal and financial hurdles in pursuing an appeal.”
As a consequence, Sale Sharks do not believe that it is in the interests of either Denny, the club or the game of rugby union to prolong this sad affair.”
The full report states revealed that no one else had heard the altercation between Solomona and Shillcock, while no microphones picked up the conversation either.
Despite this, he was charged him “with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the union or the game, contrary to RFU Rule 5.12.”
Solomona contested the charge but was found guilty by the three-person independent panel.
It rules the winger out until May 8th, which effectively ends Solomona’s domestic season, unless Sale secure a top-four spot and a place in the Aviva Premiership playoffs. The Sharks are currently sixth, three points behind fourth-placed Wasps.
Panel chair Samantha Hillas said: “The panel found that the player used language that was verbally abusive on more than one occasion in quick succession.
“The comments were offensive and have no place on the rugby field. However, the Panel accepted that they were said in the heat of the moment rather than premeditated.
“For these reasons, the panel deemed it was a low-end entry point which carries a six-week suspension as a starting point. The player did not accept the charge but all other mitigating features were present. The panel therefore reduced the sanction to four weeks.”
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