Cardiff Blues second-row George Earle has been suspended for eight weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in London on Wednesday.
Earle appeared at the hearing after his club’s European Rugby Challenge Cup, Round 4 match against Bath at the Recreation Ground.
He was sent off by referee, Alexandre Ruiz (France), for making contact with the eye area of the Bath flanker, Tom Ellis, in the 44th minute of the match in contravention of Law 10.4 (m).
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 10.4 (m) Contact with eye(s) or eye area, carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 12 weeks; Mid-Range: 18 weeks; Top End: 24 to 208 weeks.
An independent Disciplinary Committee consisting of Jeremy Summers (England), Chairman, John Doubleday (England) and Jean-René Hegoburu (France) heard submissions and evidence from Earle, who pleaded not guilty to the offence, from the Cardiff Blues Team Manager, Gafyn Cooper, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.
In upholding the red card decision, the Committee found that the offence was at the low end of World Rugby’s sanctions and selected 12 weeks as the appropriate entry point. The Committee then added one week to the sanction in accordance with World Rugby’s memorandum on contact with the eyes and/or eye area.
Taking into account Earle’s clean disciplinary record and his apology to Ellis following the match, the Committee decided to reduce the sanction by five weeks before imposing an eight-week suspension.
Earle is free to play on Monday, 13 February 2017. Both the player and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.
Meanwhile, the citing complaint against the Toulouse player, Maks van Dyk, arising from his club’s European Rugby Champions Cup, Round 4 match against Zebre at Stade Ernest Wallon, has been dismissed following an independent Disciplinary Hearing.
Van Dyk was cited by the match Citing Commissioner, Steve Savage (England), for striking an opponent in the 66th minute of the match in contravention of Law 10.4 (a).
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 10.4 (a) Striking with a hand, arm or fist, carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-Range: 5 weeks; Top End: 8 to 52 weeks.
An independent Disciplinary Committee consisting of Jeremy Summers (England), Chairman, John Doubleday (England) and Jean-René Hegoburu (France) heard submissions by video conference from Van Dyk, who pleaded not guilty to the complaint, from the Toulouse Director of Rugby, Fabien Pelous, and from the Toulouse General Manager, Jean-Luc Brumont. The Committee also heard evidence and submissions from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.
The Committee determined that Van Dyk had committed an act of foul play, but found that the offence did not warrant a red card. The citing complaint was therefore dismissed and Van Dyk is free to play.