See below the decisions of independent Disciplinary Committees.

Will Muir suspended for four weeks

The Bath Rugby wing, Will Muir, has been suspended for four weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing by video conference yesterday (Wednesday 15 December) arising from his club’s Heineken Champions Cup, Round 1 match against Leinster Rugby at the Aviva Stadium.

Muir was cited for allegedly making contact with the eye of the Leinster flanker, Josh Van der Flier, in the 14th minute of the match in contravention of Law 9.12. The complaint was made by the match Citing Commissioner, Jeff Mark (Wales).

Law 9.12 A player must not physically abuse anyone. Physical abuse includes contact with the eye.
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.12, contact with the eye, carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 6 weeks; Mid-range: 12 weeks; Top end: 18 to 208 weeks.

An independent Disciplinary Committee comprising Philippe Cavalieros (France), Chair, Val Toma (Romania) and Chris Watts (Wales), considered video imagery of the incident and heard submissions from Muir, who pleaded not guilty to the charge, from Muir’s legal representative, Sam Jones, from the Bath Rugby Chief Operating Officer, Alex Cohen, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.

The committee upheld the citing complaint, finding the Muir had made contact in a reckless manner with Van der Flier’s eye that warranted a red card. It was then determined that the offence was at the low end of World Rugby’s sanctions and six weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point.

Taking into account the player’s relative inexperience, the committee reduced the sanction by two weeks before imposing a four-week suspension.

Muir is free to play on Monday, 10 January 2022 and both he and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.

Nick Schonert suspended for two weeks

The Sale Sharks prop, Nick Schonert, has been suspended for two weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing by video conference yesterday (Wednesday 15 December) arising from his club’s Heineken Champions Cup, Round 1 match against the Ospreys.

Schonert was cited for allegedly entering a maul dangerously and making contact with the Ospreys prop, Gareth Thomas, above the line of the shoulder in the 38th minute of the match in contravention of Law 9.20 (b). The complaint was made by the match Citing Commissioner, John Montgomery (Scotland)

Law 9.20 (b) A player must not make contact with an opponent above the line of the shoulder at a ruck or maul.
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.20 (b) carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 4 weeks; Top end: 8 to 52 weeks.

An independent Disciplinary Committee comprising Owain Rhys James (Wales), Chair, Rod McKenzie (Scotland) and Tony Wheat (England) considered video imagery of the incident and heard submissions from Schonert, who accepted that he had committed an act of foul play but that it did not warrant a red card, and from Schonert’s legal representative, Ben Cisneros. Submissions from the Sale Sharks Team Manager, Scott Needham, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan, were also heard.

The committee upheld the citing complaint, finding the Schonert had committed an act of foul play that warranted a red card. It was then determined that the offence was at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and four weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point.

There were no aggravating factors, and the committee reduced the sanction by two weeks before imposing a two-week suspension.

Schonert is free to play on Monday, 27 December 2021 and both he and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.

Citing Commissioner Warnings

Rory Kockott (Castres Olympique) and Alivereti Raka (ASM Clermont Auvergne) have been issued with Citing Commissioner Warnings following the Heineken Champions Cup, Round 1 fixtures.

The warning issued to Kockott arising from the Castres Olympique v Harlequins match on Sunday, 12 December was for directing abusive language at the referee in contravention of Law 9.27. The match Citing Commissioner was Danae Zamboulis (Greece).

The warning issued to Raka arising from the ASM Clermont Auvergne v Ulster Rugby match on Saturday, 11 December was for making fleeting contact with the eye of the Ulster replacement prop, Ross Kane in contravention of Law 9.12. The match Citing Commissioner was Shaun Gallagher (England).

Players who accumulate three Citing Commissioner Warnings, or who are shown three yellow cards for Foul Play offences, or a combination of both, during the pool stages and knockout stages of the Heineken Champions Cup and the EPCR Challenge Cup, will be required to attend a Disciplinary Hearing.