Lions back-row Warwick Tecklenburg has been suspended for one week following a SANZAAR Judicial Hearing.
Tecklenburg was found guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (h) – (A player must not charge into a ruck or maul. Charging includes any contact made without use of the arms, or without grasping a player) – after he was cited during a Super Rugby match at the weekend.
The incident occurred in the 74th minute of the match between the Highlanders v Lions played at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin on March 12.
The SANZAAR Judicial Hearing was conducted by a judicial committee comprising John Langford, De Wet Barry and Robert Stelzner via video conference at 9:00pm (SAST),6:00am (AEDST), 8:00am (NZST) on March 16, 2016.
The player through his legal representative denied any transgression of the applicable law, arguing in essence that it was a fellow player, on to whom he had bound in order to join a maul, who caused his opponent, Dan Pryor, to be struck during the incident.
The player argued that he had made no contact with Pryor himself and that the incident happened directly in front of the referee.
In his finding, Stelzner ruled the following: "As the Judicial Committee we considered the Citing Commissioner's report and the following evidence – the video footage of the incident, medical information for the Highlanders' player, Dan Pryor, who was injured in the incident, a brief written statement from Prior and evidence from the player himself.
"The submissions made for the player by his legal representative, Marius Botha, were evaluated against the evidence.
"After taking all relevant facts into consideration, we found the breach of the Law with which the player was cited to have been established.
"The incident was found to have a lower end entry point for breaching Law 10.4 (h), essentially on the grounds that there was no clear intent to commit the act of foul play and cause the injury which Pryor sustained.
"Although the player’s actions caused the Highlanders player to suffer an injury in the form of concussion, this was found to have been the consequence of overly robust play and recklessness rather than malicious intent. The recommended sanction for a lower end transgression is two weeks’ suspension.
"The main mitigating factor which was taken into account was the player’s perfectly clean record spanning a career of over a decade at provincial and Super Rugby level entitling him to a reduction in the sanction of one week.
"The player was found to have contravened Law 10.4 (h) and is suspended for one week up to and including Saturday 19th March 2016. His team has a bye the weekend thereafter and is scheduled to play on 1 April 2016. The player will be free to play in that match."