See below some disciplinary decisions from the Heineken Champions Cup Round 1

Brad Shields appeal upheld

Brad Shields has had his appeal against a four-week suspension upheld following a hearing by video conference before an independent Appeal Committee yesterday (Thursday 16 December).

Shields was sent off by referee Romain Poite (France) during his club’s Heineken Champions Cup, Round 1 match against Munster Rugby at the Coventry Building Society Arena for tackling the Munster prop, Dave Kilcoyne, in a dangerous manner in contravention of Law 9.13, and was subsequently suspended by an independent Disciplinary Committee.

Law 9.13 A player must not tackle an opponent dangerously
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.13 relating to dangerous tackling carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 6 weeks; Top end: 10 to 52 weeks.

The independent Appeal Committee comprising Sir James Dingemans (England), Chair, Donal Courtney (Ireland) and Roddy Dunlop (Scotland), considered video imagery of the incident and heard submissions from Shields, from the Wasps Team Manager, Dave Bassett, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.

The Appeal Committee agreed with the original decision that the red card threshold was passed, however, it decided that the Disciplinary Committee was wrong to find that there was no on-field mitigation.

The Appeal Committee determined that there was on-field mitigation in that there was a late change in the dynamics of the tackle, due to the tackle of another Wasps player, Thomas Young (No 7). This reduced the red card to a yellow card for the purposes of World Rugby’s Head Contact Process.

Therefore the appeal was upheld, and Shields is free to play.

Jacob Beetham suspended for three weeks

The Cardiff Rugby full back, Jacob Beetham, has been suspended for three weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing by video conference yesterday (Thursday, 16 December) arising from his club’s Heineken Champions Cup, Round 1 match against Stade Toulousain at Cardiff Arms Park.

Beetham was sent off by the match referee, Karl Dickson (England), in the 74th minute for tackling the Stade Toulousain replacement, Antoine Miquel, in a dangerous manner in contravention of Law 9.13.

Law 9.13 A player must not tackle an opponent dangerously
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.13 relating to dangerous tackling carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 6 weeks; Top end: 10 to 52 weeks.

The independent Disciplinary Committee comprising Matthew O’Grady (England), Chair, Becky Essex (England) and Mike Ross (Ireland), considered video imagery of the incident and heard evidence and submissions from Beetham, who accepted the red card decision, from the Cardiff Rugby Team Manager, Gafyn Cooper, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.

The Committee upheld the red card decision, finding that Beetham had made contact with Miquel’s head in a dangerous manner. It then determined that the offence was at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and selected six weeks as the appropriate entry point.

Taking into account the player’s guilty plea, age and inexperience and good disciplinary record, the Committee reduced the sanction by three weeks before imposing a three-week suspension.

Beetham is free to play on Monday, 27 December 2021 if he successfully completes a World Rugby Coaching Intervention. Both the player and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.