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Saracens flanker Michael Rhodes cited for head butt, but it wasn't the Sexton tackle

By Ian Cameron
Saracens' Michael Rhodes reacts during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match against Bath last weekend (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Saracens flanker Michael Rhodes has been cited for head butting during his side’s quarter-final victory over Leinster at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday. While Rhodes was penalised in the match for a tackle in which his connected with Leinster flyhalf Jonny Sexton, it was an incident unseen at the time that has landed him in hot water.


In the second minute of the game, Rhodes swung his head back into the face of centre Robbie Henshaw at the bottom of a ruck, a strike unseen by officials during live play. However, it has been picked up by an eagle-eyed citing commissioner Beth Dickens.

If the strike had been picked up at the time, Rhodes could easily have been red-carded by referee Pascal Gaüzère. Occurring in the 2nd minute of the game, a red card for the incident would very likely have swung the game heavily in favour of Leinster.

A statement reads: “EPCR has received a citing complaint against the Saracens flanker, Michael Rhodes (No 6), arising from his club’s Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final match against Leinster Rugby at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, 19 September 2020.

“Rhodes is alleged to have committed an act of foul play in that he struck the Leinster centre, Robbie Henshaw (No 12), with his head the 2nd minute of the match in contravention of Law 9.12.

“An independent Disciplinary Committee comprising Simon Thomas (Wales), Chair, Frank Hadden (Scotland) and Val Toma (Romania) will hear the case by video conference tomorrow (Tuesday, 22 September).


“The complaint was made by the match Citing Commissioner, Beth Dickens (Scotland).”

Law 9.12 Striking with the head
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.12 relating to striking with the head carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 6 weeks; Mid-range: 10 weeks; Top end: 16 to 104 weeks.?


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