Here are the decisions from the independent Disciplinary Hearings following the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup Round 2.
Dylan Hartley citing dismissed
The Northampton Saints hooker, Dylan Hartley, has had a citing complaint against him dismissed following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in London today (Wednesday, 25 October) arising from his club’s Champions Cup, Round 2 match against ASM Clermont Auvergne at Stade Marcel-Michelin.
Hartley was cited by the match Citing Commissioner, Douglas Hunter (Scotland), for striking the ASM Clermont Auvergne prop, Rabah Slimani (No 3), in the 30th minute of the match in contravention of Law 10.4 (a). He was shown a yellow card by referee, Ben Whitehouse (Wales), following the incident.
Law 10.4 (a) Striking with the hand
Under World Rugby's Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 10.4 (a), striking with the hand, carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 4 weeks; Top end: 8 to 52 weeks.
An independent Disciplinary Committee consisting of Jeremy Summers (England), Chairman, Rhian Williams (Wales) and Frank Hadden (Scotland) heard evidence and submissions from Hartley, who pleaded not guilty to the charge, from Northampton Saints’ legal representative, Sam Jones, and from Northampton Saints Director of Rugby, Jim Mallinder. The Committee also heard evidence and submissions from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.
The Committee found that Hartley had committed a reckless act of foul play in that he had struck Slimani in the face, however, the Committee was not satisfied that the offence had warranted a red card.
The citing complaint was therefore dismissed and Hartley is free to play.
Dmitrii Gerasimov suspended for nine weeks
The Enisei-STM centre, Dmitrii Gerasimov, has been suspended for nine weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in London today (Wednesday, 25 October) arising from his club’s Challenge Cup, Round 2 match against Dragons at Slava Stadium, Moscow.
Gerasimov was cited by the match Citing Commissioner, Jean-Claude Lunel (France), for striking the Dragons flanker, Ollie Griffiths (No 7), with his elbow in the 23rd minute of the match in contravention of Law 10.4 (a).
Law 10.4 (a) Striking with the elbow
Under World Rugby's Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 10.4 (a), striking with the elbow, carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 6 weeks; Top end: 10 to 52 weeks.
An independent Disciplinary Committee consisting of Julian Morris (England), Chairman, Richard Cole (Wales) and Paula Carter (England), heard evidence and submissions by video conference from Gerasimov, who pleaded not guilty to the charge, from the Enisei-STM administrator, Anastacia Yuronina, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.
The Committee upheld the citing complaint on the basis that the strike was with the shoulder, and determined that the offence had warranted a red card. Ollie Griffiths suffered a broken jaw as a result of Gerasimov’s strike, and taking into account the seriousness of the injury, the Committee found that the offence was at the top end of World Rugby’s sanctions and selected 12 weeks as the appropriate entry point.
As there were no aggravating factors, the Committee then reduced the sanction by three weeks due to the player’s clean disciplinary record before imposing a suspension of nine weeks.
The exact date when Gerasimov is free to play will be decided once the match schedules of Enisei-STM and the Russia national team are confirmed. Both the player and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.
(i) Citing Commissioner
a) Citing Commissioners are appointed by EPCR for all European Rugby Champions Cup and Challenge Cup matches and shall be entitled to cite a player for any act or acts of Foul Play that in the Citing Commissioner's opinion warranted a red card.
b) For such matches, clubs will not have the power to cite a player but may refer incidents to the Citing Commissioner within 26 hours of the start of the match.
c) The Citing Commissioner will have 50 hours from the start of the match to make a citing. In certain circumstances this deadline can be extended.
d) The tournament Disciplinary Officer may forward the submitted citing to a Citing Officer to determine whether there are sufficient grounds for the citing to progress.
e) The Disciplinary Officer will then bring a charge against the cited player.
(ii) Disciplinary Hearing
a) The independent Disciplinary Committee or independent Judicial Officer are chosen by the chairman of the independent Disciplinary Panel, Mike Hamlin.
b) EPCR's Disciplinary Officer presents the case against the player.
c) If a decision is upheld, the Disciplinary Committee or Judicial Officer will be required to consider the appropriate sanction under World Rugby's sanctioning regime, which EPCR is obliged to follow. The seriousness of the player's actions will be first assessed in order to determine which of the three stipulated entry points (lower end, mid-range and top end) is the most appropriate.
d) The Disciplinary Committee or Judicial Officer will determine the appropriate entry point based on an assessment of a number of particular characteristics of the player's actions, including whether or not they were intentional, whether or not they caused any injuries and whether or not they had any effect on the relevant match.
e) After deciding the entry point, the Disciplinary Committee or Judicial Officer will then consider whether the suspension should be increased from the entry point to take account of certain specified aggravating factors, such as a poor disciplinary record or the need for deterrence, and/or decreased from the entry point to take account of certain specified mitigating actions, such as a guilty plea, a good disciplinary record, the player's conduct at the hearing and expressions of remorse.
f) A suspension is a blanket ban from playing rugby union anywhere in the world. Players are suspended on the basis that a one-week period of suspension would ordinarily result in a player missing one match. Suspensions take into account periods of inactivity (such as the close season), periods when a player is injured or otherwise not fit to play, and when a player is not available or not expected to play. Suspensions should also take into account any out-of-season matches which are not considered to be meaningful, or which are not close enough to the season to be a determining factor in a player’s future selection.
g) Both parties to the hearing (EPCR and the player) have the right to appeal decisions. Appeals must be lodged within three (3) working days of receiving the full written decision of the Disciplinary Committee or Judicial Officer.
h) The full written decision will be available on www.epcrugby.com/discipline/news.php when the disciplinary process is complete.
i) For World Rugby's Sanctions for Foul Play, found at Appendix 1 to World Rugby Regulation 17, please go to www.worldrugby.org