Charlie Rorke suspended for two weeks 

The Stade Francais Paris flankerCharlie Rorke, has been suspended for two weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing today (Wednesday, 16 December) arising from his club’s Challenge Cup, Round 1 match against Benetton Rugby at Stade Jean Bouin. 

Rorke was issued with a red card by the referee, Ben Blain (Scotland), in the 44th minute of the match for allegedly grabbing the testicles of the Benetton Rugby wingLeonardo Sarto (No 14), in contravention of Law 9.27. 

Law 9.27 A player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship  

Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.27 relating to grabbing the testicles of an opponent, has the following sanction entry points – Low End: 12 weeks; Mid-range: 18 weeks; Top end: 24 to 104 weeks. 

The independent Disciplinary Committee comprising Samantha Hillas QC (England), Chair, Frank Hadden (Scotland) and Antony Wheat (England), heard evidence and submissions by video conference from the player, who pleaded not guilty to the charge, from the Stade Francais Paris Chief Executive, Thomas Lombard, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan. 

The committee found that the red card was warranted, however, it decided that Rorke was guilty of a different offence coming under Law 9.11. 

Law 9.11 Players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others 

Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.11 has the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 6 weeks; Top end: 10 to 52 weeks. 

The committee then determined that the act of foul play was athe low-end of World Rugby’s sanctions and selected two weeks as the appropriate entry point. As there was insufficient mitigation to warrant any reduction to the entry pointa two-week suspension was imposed.  

Rorke is free to play on Monday, 28 December, and he and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision. 

 

Leonardo Sarto suspended for one week

The Benetton Rugby wingLeonardo Sarto, has been suspended for one week following an independent Disciplinary Hearing today (Wednesday, 16 December) arising from his club’s Challenge Cup, Round 1 match against Stade Francais Paris at Stade Jean Bouin. 

Sarto was issued with a red card by the referee, Ben Blain (Scotland), in the 44th minute of the match for striking the Stade Francais Paris flanker, Charlie Rorke (No 6), in the neck and head area in contravention of Law 9.12. 

Law 9.12 Punching or striking  

Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.12 relating to punching or striking with hand or arm, has the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 6 weeks; Top end: 10 to 52 weeks. 

The independent Disciplinary Committee comprising Samantha Hillas QC (England), Chair, Frank Hadden (Scotland) and Antony Wheat (England), heard evidence and submissions by video conference from the player, who pleaded guilty to foul play, from the Benetton Rugby representative, Marius Goosen, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan. 

The committee found that the red card was warranted, however, it decided that Sarto was guilty of a different offence coming under Law 9.11. 

Law 9.11 Players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others 

Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.11 has the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 6 weeks; Top end: 10 to 52 weeks. 

The committee then determined that the act of foul play was at the low-end of World Rugby’s sanctions and selected two weeks as the appropriate entry point. Taking into account the player’s guilty plea and clear disciplinary record, the committee reduced the sanction by the maximum of 50% before imposing a one-week suspension. 

Sarto is free to play on Monday, 21 December, and he and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision. 

 

Hans N’Kinsi suspended for six weeks 

The Castres Olympique second row, Hans N’Kinsihas been suspended for six weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing yesterday (Tuesday, 15 December) arising  from his club’s Challenge Cup, Round 1 match against Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium. 

N’Kinsi was cited by the match Citing Commissioner, Dana Teagarden (Germany), for stamping on the hand of the Ospreys scrum-half, Shaun Venter (No 9), in the 34th minute of the match in contravention of Law 9.12. 

Law 9.12 Stamping 

Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.12 relating to stamping carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 6 weeks; Top end: 12 to 52 weeks. 

The independent Disciplinary Committee comprising Kathrine Mackie (Scotland), Chair, Donal Courtney (Ireland) and Mitchell Read (England) heard the case by video conference and considered submissions and evidence from the player, who pleaded not guilty to the charge, from the Castres Olympique Managing Director, Matthias Rolland, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan. 

The Committee upheld the citing complaint, finding that N’Kinsi had intentionally stamped on Venter’s hand, and decided that the offence was in the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions. Six weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point and while there were no aggravating factors, the Committee decided that due to the player’s pleahis prior disciplinary record and his lack of remorse, there were no mitigating factors.  

A suspension of six weeks was imposed and N’Kinsi is free to play on Monday, 21 January 2021. Both he and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.  

 

Notes 

(i) Red Cards
a) The case of any player sent off in Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup matches shall be adjudicated by an independent Disciplinary Committee or an independent Judicial Officer as soon as is practicable.
b) Until the hearing the player is ineligible to play in any tournament. 

(ii) Citing Commissioner
a) Citing Commissioners are appointed by EPCR for all Heineken 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.
(iii) 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 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