An Independent Diciplinary Committee reached a decision regarding the citing against Epi Taione.

Sale Sharks player Epi Taione appeared before an Independent Disciplinary Committee in London today (Monday, 6 February) as a result of a citing lodged following the Round 6 Heineken Cup Pool 1 match between Munster and Sale Sharks at Thomond Park, Limerick, on Saturday, 21 January.

The citing was lodged by the ERC appointed Citing Commissioner for the match, Iain Goodall (Scotland), and was against Mr Taione for alleged contravention of Law: 10-4 (k), in that he allegedly bit Munster player Denis Leamy on the right arm.

(NB: Law 10-4 (k) – Acts contrary to good sportsmanship: A Player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship in the playing enclosure.)

The Independent Disciplinary Committee was chaired by Wyn Williams QC (WRU) and also comprised Paul Mauriac (FFR) and Dr Barry O’Driscoll (IRFU).

Following an admission of guilt by Mr Taione, the Independent Disciplinary Committee then heard submissions on behalf of ERC and on behalf of the Player as to what sanction should be imposed with reference to IRB regulations. 

In terms of the seriousness of the offence, the Committee determined that the appropriate entry-point for sanctions was six months. 

It determined that there were no aggravating factors and that there were various compelling mitigating factors.  It therefore determined that the appropriate sanction was a period of 18 weeks, ie ending on Sunday, 11 June inclusive. The Player will be available to play again on Monday, 12 June 2006. 

The Committee ruled that Sale Sharks should pay the costs of the hearings.

Both parties were advised of the right to appeal.