Two-week ban for Launchbury

Date published: November 21 2016

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 19: Api Ratuniyarawa of Fiji wins a line out against Joe Launchbury of England during the Old Mutual Wealth series match between England and Fiji at Twickenham Stadium on November 19, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

England second-row Joe Launchbury has been suspended for two weeks after being cited for kicking an opponent.

Launchbury appeared on Monday in London (Heathrow) before an independent Disciplinary Committee appointed by the Chair of the Six Nations Disciplinary Panel, having been cited by an independent Citing Commissioner for allegedly kicking an opponent in contravention of Law 10.4 (c) in the match between England and Fiji at Twickenham on Saturday.

Launchbury accepted that he had committed an act of foul play and that it would have warranted a red card. Accordingly, the Disciplinary Committee, chaired by Roger Morris (Wales), alongside Jennifer Donovan and David Martin (both Ireland), considered what would be the appropriate sanction.

Having viewed video footage of the incident, listened to evidence and representations from and on behalf of the player, and reviewed all of the other evidence, the Disciplinary Committee found that Launchbury had acted recklessly rather than intentionally and that the offending merited a low-end entry point based on World Rugby’s scale of seriousness, which carries a four-week playing suspension.

The Disciplinary Committee further found that there were no aggravating factors and that there were a number of mitigating factors (including Launchbury’s acknowledgement of wrongdoing, his previous clean disciplinary record and his good conduct at the hearing) such that his playing suspension be reduced by two weeks.

Launchbury is therefore suspended from playing rugby for a total of two weeks, up to and including Sunday, December 4.

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