Blow for Sharks as Mapimpi receives ban

DISCIPLINARY UPDATE: Sharks star Makazole Mapimpi has been suspended for two weeks following an independent disciplinary hearing arising from his team’s Champions Cup Round Three match against Union Bordeaux-Bègles at Kings Park.

Mapimpi was cited by the match Citing Commissioner, Brian Campsall (England), for making contact with the eye or eye area of ​​the Union Bordeaux-Bègles scrumhalf, Maxime Lucu, in the 36th minute of the match in contravention of Law 9.12.

Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.12 relating to contact with the eye or eye area carries the following sanction entry points – low end: four weeks; mid-range: eight weeks; top end: 12 to 52 weeks

An independent Disciplinary Committee comprising Antony Davies (England), Chair, Leon Lloyd (England) and Donal Courtney (Ireland) heard submissions from Mapimpi, from the player’s legal representative, Attie Heyns, from the Cell C Sharks Team Manager, Trevor Barnes, and from the Cell C Sharks Head of Team Culture, André Barnard.

Evidence and submissions were also heard from Lucu and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.

The committee upheld the citing complaint, finding that Mapimpi had made reckless contact with Lucu’s eye area which warranted a red card and it determined that the offending was at the low end of World Rugby’s sanctions and four weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point.

Due to the player’s clear disciplinary record, it was decided to grant him the full 50 percent mitigation and the committee therefore reduced the sanction by two weeks before imposing a two-week suspension.

Mapimpi is free to play on Monday, January 30 and both he and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.

It means the Springbok will not be able to play his team’s Round Four Champions Cup clash against Harlequins on Saturday where home-ground advantage in the Round of 16 is at stake.

Double trouble

Meanwhile, London Irish duo Ben Loader and Ciaran Parker have both received suspensions for foul play in their team’s 14-28 defeat to the Stormers in Brentford.

Loader, has been suspended for three weeks following an independent disciplinary hearing.

Loader was sent off by the referee, Ludovic Cayre (France), in the 18th minute of the match for tackling Stormers flyhalf, Manie Libbok, in a dangerous manner in contravention of Law 9.13.

Parker has been suspended for two weeks. He was sent off by the referee Cayre in the 43rd minute of the match for a dangerous clear-out on Stormers loose forward, Deon Fourie, in contravention of Law 9.20.

Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.20 relating to dangerous play in a ruck or maul carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: two weeks; mid-range: six weeks; Top end: 10 to 52 weeks

Following submissions, the committee upheld the red card decision, but decided that the incident should be considered as being in contravention of Law 9.20 (b) which refers to dangerous play at a ruck or maul when a player makes contact with an opponent above the line of the shoulders.

O’Donoghue learns fairies

In Ireland, Munster loose forward Jack O’Donoghue, has been suspended for three weeks following an independent disciplinary hearing arising from his club’s Champions Cup, Round Three match against Northampton Saints at Thomond Park.

O’Donoghue was sent off by the referee, Tual Trainini (France), in the 23rd minute of the match for tackling the Northampton Saints second row, David Ribbans, in a dangerous manner in contravention of Law 9.13.

Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.13 relating to dangerous tackling carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: two weeks; Mid range: six weeks; Top end: 10 to 52 weeks

An independent Disciplinary Committee comprising Ian Unsworth KC (England), Chair, Nigel Williams (Wales) and Martyn Wood (England) heard submissions from O’Donoghue, who accepted the red card decision, from the Munster Rugby Team Manager, Niall O’Donovan , and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.

The committee upheld the red card decision, finding that in carrying out the tackle in a dangerous manner, O’Donoghue had made contact with Ribbans’ head. It then determined that the offending was at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and six weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point.

As the player has a clear disciplinary record, and as there were no aggravating factors, it was decided to grant him the full 50 percent mitigation and the committee therefore reduced the sanction by three weeks before imposing a three-week suspension.

O’Donoghue is free to play on Monday, February 20 due to Munster’s fixture schedule, however, if he applies for and successfully completes a World Rugby Coaching Intervention, he will be free to play on Monday, January 30.

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