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RFU dismiss citing against Wallaby prop for incident 'with close friend'

By Ian Cameron
(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

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The RFU have dismissed a citing against London Irish prop Oli Hoskins, who was adjudged to have illegally cleared out Gloucester prop Harry Elrington in last weekend Gallagher Premiership.

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The Wallabies prop had been cited for reckless or dangerous play, contrary to World Rugby Law 9.11 and the player accepted that foul play had occurred.

The panel heard how Hoskins was alleged to have executed a dangerous clearout on former teammate Elrington, although the incident didn’t get picked up by officials during the game. Elrington was alleged to have landed on his head and shoulders area as a result of the clearout.

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A detailed breakdown of the incident was given in the written judgement:

“Gloucester 17 [Elrington] comes into ruck to contest ball on the floor. London Irish 3 [Oli Hoskins] arrives at the ruck to clearout Gloucester 17. Hoskins wraps his right arm around the back of G17’s neck. Hoskins left arm hooks the right leg of G17, as he hooks the right leg Hoskins lifts and twists G17. As Hoskins lifts and twists he drops his right side to the floor to initiate a roll. As Hoskins rolls and also lifts and twists G17, G17 rotates and is driven in a downward motion and lands with his head and neck taking all the weight of his body through the floor. At one point G17 body is vertical to his head and neck with all his body weight and some of LI3 body weight.”

“The footage shows G17 coming in to jackal for the ball at the ruck. LI3 engages with G17 with a view to driving him backwards. LI3’s right arm wraps around the back of G17 (but the footage shows this is across G17’s upper back and shoulders than his neck) and although the footage of the incident does not show clearly LI3’s left arm hooking G17’s right leg, the footage immediately after the incident indeed shows that LI3 had hold of G17’s right leg. However, a careful viewing of the footage shows that, as the ruck was forming, G6 [Jack Clement] goes off his feet and lands on the other side of the ruck, so that his body his next to LI3 and his legs are in front of LI3’s feet. G6 then ‘wriggles’ forward, in an attempt to get out of the way of LI3 but in doing so, his legs tangle with the feet of LI3, which causes LI3 to fall sideways. As LI3 has one arm around G17’s upper back and one arm around his right leg, he takes G17 with him in a rolling motion. G17’s head and neck makes contact with the ground before he quickly flips to a sitting position. There appears to be no effect on G17, no reaction from any players nor any reaction from the referee who is standing approximately a meter and a half away and looking directly at the ruck.”

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The panel heard how the pair were in fact close friends, having  ‘played together for 5 years and G17 [Elrington] was at his wedding. They spoke during that game, the night of the game and the next day; there was no mention of this incident.’

It was also accepted that there was a low level of force in the incident.

An RFU statement reads: “The panel dismissed the citing but have placed a yellow card on the player’s disciplinary record for the incident. Hoskins is available to play immediately.”

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