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The verdict is in from the Paul Willemse 'eye area contact' red card disciplinary hearing

By Liam Heagney

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Red-carded France forward Paul Willemse has been banned for just two games after appearing before a disciplinary committee on Tuesday following his sending-off versus Wales in Paris last Saturday night. Willemse was given his marching orders in the closing stages after allegedly making contact with the eye/eye area of opposition prop Wyn Jones.

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The disciplinary committee, which comprised Roddy Dunlop (Scotland), Donal Courtney (Ireland) and Becky Essex (England), heard evidence and submissions from Willemse and the France lock’s legal counsel Louis Weston, as well as from Six Nations’ legal representative.

A Six Nations statement following the Willemse hearing read: “Willemse accepted that he had committed an act of foul play, ie contact with the eye area (the ‘eye area’ is defined as ‘anywhere in close proximity to the eye’) and that it had warranted a red card.

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“He did not accept that he had made contact with the eye (the ‘eye’ is defined as ‘all tissues including the eyelids within and covering the orbital cavity’).

“The disciplinary committee first decided that there was insufficient evidence that Willemse had made contact with the eye. As for the (admitted) contact with the eye area, the disciplinary committee determined that Willemse had acted recklessly and not intentionally and that there was no evidence of injury having been caused. It found the offence to warrant a low-end entry point (four weeks).

“The disciplinary committee identified no aggravating features. In terms of mitigation, the disciplinary committee gave credit for Willemse’s prompt acceptance that his actions had constituted foul play and been worthy of a red card, his attitude to the disciplinary process before and during the hearing and his clear remorse. They reduced the suspension by two weeks so that the final period of suspension is two weeks.

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“The disciplinary committee determined that the suspension should cover the France vs Scotland match in the Guinness Six Nations on March 26, and the Montpellier vs Glasgow match in the Challenge Cup on April 2. He will be free to play again on Monday, April 5.”

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The verdict is in from the Paul Willemse 'eye area contact' red card disciplinary hearing

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