Two-week ban for Van den Heever

Date published: November 11 2015

Gerhard van den Heever, the Munster wing, has been handed a two-week suspension for a tackle in the air last Saturday.

Van den Heever appeared on Tuesday before an independent PRO12 Rugby Disciplinary Committee, having been cited by an independent citing commissioner for allegedly tackling an opponent in the air in contravention of Law 10.4(i) in the PRO12 match between Edinburgh and Munster on Saturday, November 7.

Van den Heever did not accept that he had committed an act of foul play. However, the Disciplinary Committee, chaired by Rhian Williams, alongside Ray Wilton and Richard Cole (all from Wales), 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, found that the player had committed an act of foul play, and went on to find that the foul play had warranted a red card.

The Disciplinary Committee then turned to consider what would be the appropriate sanction. In assessing the seriousness of Mr van den Heever's conduct, the Disciplinary Committee considered that it merited a lower-end entry point based on World Rugby's scale of seriousness, which is a three-week suspension. The Disciplinary Committee found that there were no aggravating factors and that there were a number of mitigating factors such that his suspension be reduced by one week.

Van den Heever is therefore suspended for a total of two weeks, up to and including Sunday, November 22. Van den Heever was reminded of his right of appeal.

An appeal by Fraser McKenzie, the Edinburgh lock forward, against the two-week suspension that had been imposed on him on November 3 by an independent PRO12 Rugby Disciplinary Committee was considered yesterday by an independent PRO12 Rugby Appeal Committee.

The original suspension had been imposed following the player having been cited for charging into a ruck or maul in contravention of Law 10.4(h) in the PRO12 match between Connacht and Edinburgh in Galway on Saturday, October 31.

McKenzie's appeal was confined to sanction: he argued that the Disciplinary Committee had made an error by not reducing his suspension to take account of mitigating factors, including his remorse and his acknowledgement that he had committed foul play.

The Appeal Committee, chaired by Mark McParland, along with Tommy Dalton and David Hurley (all from Ireland) dismissed the appeal, meaning that McKenzie remains suspended up to and including Sunday, November 15.