published on behalf of an independent Disciplinary Committee
The Saracens player, Alex Lozowski, who was suspended following a citing complaint arising from his club’s Heineken Champions Cup, Round 1 match against Glasgow Warriors, has had his sanction reviewed administratively by the original independent Disciplinary Committee.
Lozowski was found to have committed an act of foul play during the match – dangerous play at a ruck in contravention of Law 9.20 – that warranted a red card and he was suspended for two weeks by the Committee.
In accordance with World Rugby regulations, suspensions are imposed on the basis that a one-week period of suspension would ordinarily result in a player missing one match, so it was decided that Lozowski would miss his club’s Heineken Champions Cup, Round 2 match against Lyon on 20 October as well as the Premiership Cup match against Leicester Tigers on 27 October, and that he would be free to play on Monday, 29 October.
Subsequently, Lozowski was selected for an England squad training camp in Portugal, and on the basis of an agreement between the RFU and Premiership Rugby, it appeared that due to his participation in the England training camp, he would not be expected to play in Saracens’ Premiership Cup match on 27 October.
EPCR then requested that the independent Disciplinary Committee administratively review its decision on sanction with regard to the specific matches which would count towards Lozowski’s period of suspension.
The England Team Manager, Richard Hill, informed the Committee that Lozowski would be made available for selection for the Premiership Cup match in order for the match to count towards his suspension. However, it was decided that had the player not received a sanction, he would not in the normal course of events have been expected to play against Leicester Tigers on 27 October.
The Committee concluded that in the context of Lozowski’s suspension, Saracens’ Premiership Cup match against Leicester Tigers should not be regarded as one that the player would have been expected to play in on account of his England squad selection.
It was therefore decided that Lozowski’s two-week period of suspension should take in Saracens’ Heineken Champions Cup, Round 2 match against Lyon, Saracens’ Premiership Cup match against Sale Sharks on Friday, 2 November and/or England’s international match against South Africa on Saturday, 3 November.
He is free to play on Monday, 5 November and has the right to appeal the reviewed decision.
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 epcrugby.com/discipline/hearing-decisions when the disciplinary process is complete.
i) For World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, found at Appendix 1 to World Rugby Regulation 17, go to world.rugby