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Three disciplinary updates published, including Chessum red card

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

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Fresh from a busy Wednesday where disciplinary hearing decisions were published regarding four red card incidents and a citing, EPCR have given an update on Thursday regarding three other European red cards – including the sending off of England forward Ollie Chessum during last Saturday’s Champions Cup round of 16 win by Leicester over Clermont.  

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Chessum has been a given three-week ban but it won’t rule him out of the Leicester versus Leinster quarter-final match as he has been given the option of getting the final week of his suspension scratched he successfully completes the World Rugby tackle school procedure. 

A verdict was also published following the red card given to Alex Craig of Gloucester in their Challenge Cup win over Northampton, but the hearing for Ulster’s Tom O’Toole after his Champions Cup red card versus Toulouse was postponed.

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HEINEKEN CHAMPIONS CUP
Ollie Chessum suspended for three weeks
The Leicester Tigers back row, Ollie Chessum, has been suspended for three weeks following an independent disciplinary hearing arising from his club’s Heineken Champions Cup round of 16 second leg match against Clermont at Mattioli Woods Welford Road. Chessum was sent off by the referee, Andrew Brace (Ireland), in the 64th minute of the match for tackling the Clermont replacement wing, Samuel Ezeala, in a dangerous manner in contravention of law 9.13.

The independent disciplinary committee comprising Pamela Woodman (Scotland, chair), Donal Courtney (Ireland) and Pat Barriscale (Ireland) considered video imagery of the incident and heard submissions from Chessum, who did not accept the red card decision, from the player’s legal representative, John Shea, from the Leicester Tigers general manager, Leigh Jones, and from the EPCR disciplinary officer, Liam McTiernan. 

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The committee upheld the red card decision, finding that in executing a dangerous tackle that warranted a red card, Chessum had made contact with Ezeala’s head. It was then determined that the offending was at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and six weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point. 

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Taking into account Chessum’s clear disciplinary record, it was decided to grant the full 50 per cent mitigation due to the complex nature of the incident even though he did not accept the red card decision. The committee, therefore, reduced the sanction by three weeks before imposing a three-week suspension. Chessum is free to play on Monday, May 9. However, if he applies for and completes a World Rugby coaching intervention, he will be free to play on Monday, May 2.

Disciplinary hearing – Tom O’Toole (Ulster)
Please note that the independent disciplinary hearing regarding the red card issued to Tom O’Toole during the Ulster versus Toulouse Heineken Champions Cup second leg match has been postponed and will now take place at a later date. 

EPCR CHALLENGE CUP
Alex Craig suspended for three weeks
The Gloucester replacement second row, Alex Craig, has been suspended for three weeks following an independent disciplinary hearing arising from his club’s EPCR Challenge Cup round of 16 match against Northampton Saints at Kingsholm. Craig was sent off by the referee, Sam Grove-White (Scotland), in the 79th minute of the match for striking the head of the Northampton replacement second row, Alex Coles, in contravention of law 9.12.

The judicial officer, David Martin (Ireland), considered the matter on papers and he upheld the red card decision, finding that Craig had struck Coles’ face in a reckless manner that warranted a red card. It was then determined that the offending was at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and six weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point. 

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As Craig had accepted that he had committed an act of foul play that warranted a red card, and given his clear disciplinary record, it was decided to grant the full 50 per cent mitigation and the judicial officer, therefore, reduced the sanction by three weeks before imposing a three-week suspension. Craig is free to play on Monday, May 2. 

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