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PRO14 accused of 'shambles' over Kleyn ban compared to Liam Williams' Six Nations suspension

By Liam Heagney

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A Guinness PRO14 disciplinary hearing panel have banned Munster second row Jean Kleyn for two weeks, igniting confusion over how the league applies its sanctions regarding players who are suspended. Kleyn was cited following Munster’s loss last weekend to Leinster under law 9.20 (b) – dangerous play in a ruck or maul where contact was made with an opponent above the line of the shoulders.

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The hearing concluded that an act of foul play had occurred, meriting the mid-range entry point of a four-week suspension.

However, judicial officer Simon Thomas determined that there were mitigating factors, including the player’s acceptance of the foul play, timely remorse and previous clean disciplinary record.

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Chris Ashton’s first media conference as a Worcester player
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Chris Ashton’s first media conference as a Worcester player

That, according to the PRO14 media release announcing the ban, warranted a reduction in the sanction of two weeks, leaving Kleyn free to play again from Monday, February 15. 

It is here where questions are being raised about the suspension’s application. Munster only have one PRO14 match between now and the ban expiry date, this Saturday trip to Benetton, so the suspension is effectively one match over the next two weeks.

In contrast, Scarlets’ Liam Williams was banned for a period three weeks following his red card in a January 8 match with Cardiff. However, rather than this sanction being applied in terms of the number of days, it was specifically specified the ban would cover three games, essentially meaning it wasn’t a three-week ban.

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The PRO14 media release at the time stated: “The player is suspended from participating in the next three meaningful fixtures for which he is fit and available for selection.”

This has meant that Test level back Williams is set to miss the opening round of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations with Wales against Ireland on February 7, 30 days after he was shown the red card at Cardiff City Stadium as blank weekends with Scarlets – unlike Kleyn with Munster – weren’t considered as part of the suspension served.

It later emerged that Kleyn is apparently missing a second game as PRO14 disciplinary officials accepted that a planned Munster A team verus Connacht A team friendly planned for February 13 is “a meaningful game”, a decision that won’t go down well in Wales given the calibre of matches Williams is missing.

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PRO 14    

PRO14 accused of 'shambles' over Kleyn ban compared to Liam Williams' Six Nations suspension

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