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Young Connacht winger suspended for breakdown incident

Galway , Ireland - 1 January 2024; Byron Ralston of Connacht goes to the sin bin after being shown a yellow card by referee Chris Busby during the United Rugby Championship match between Connacht and Munster at The Sportsground in Galway. (Photo By Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Connacht winger Byron Ralston has faced a disciplinary hearing after being cited for an act of foul play in the 39th minute of the BKT United Rugby Championship Round 9 match against Munster on January 1st.

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Ralston was cited for his attempted clearout on Jack O’Donoghue, being ruled to have infringed under Law 9.20d – Dangerous play in a ruck or maul; A player may lever the jackler out of the contest at the ruck but must not drop their weight onto them or target the lower limbs.

O’Donoghue had to leave the field with a knee injury, while Ralston was only sin-binned at the time.

The 23-year-old Australian has since been suspended for three matches.

The Panel overseeing the disciplinary process found that Ralston had entered the contest in a manner that was reckless, with no realistic prospect of levering the jackler in a legal fashion and where he ought to have known that there was a likelihood of foul play and resulting injury.

Accordingly, the incident met the Red Card threshold, with entry of mid-range warranting six game suspension.

Byron Ralston disciplinary process

However, the Panel reduced the suspension to three games (50% mitigation) due to his good record, apology and exemplary conduct in the hearing.

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The former Western Force player will miss two Champions Cup matches, in Connacht’s trip to Lyon on January 13th and against Bristol at home on January 19th. He will also miss the URC fixture against Cardiff Rugby on February 17th.

In the same match, teammate Mack Hansen had his shoulder dislocated in a similar incident. He underwent surgery on Monday and will miss Ireland’s Six Nations campaign.

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1 Comment
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Kieran 158 days ago

3 weeks not enough for that - potential career ending

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