See below the decisions of independent Disciplinary Committees.

Dan Fish suspended for three weeks

The Cardiff Rugby fly half, Dan Fish, has been suspended for three weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing by video conference today (Thursday, 23 December) arising from his club’s Heineken Champions Cup Round 2 match against Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop.

Fish was cited by the match Citing Commissioner, Ciaran Scally (Ireland), for making contact in a dangerous manner with the head of the Harlequins full back, Tyrone Green, in the 80th minute of the match in contravention of Law 9.16.

Law 9.16 A player must not charge or knock down an opponent carrying the ball without attempting to grasp that player.
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.16 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 Gareth Graham (England), Chair, Tony Wheat (Ireland) and Yannick Jauzion (France) considered video imagery of the incident and heard evidence and submissions from Fish, who pleaded guilty to the charge, from the player’s legal representative, Richard Locke, from the Cardiff Rugby Team Manager, Gafyn Cooper, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.

The Committee upheld the complaint, finding that Fish had made contact with Green’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 and excellent disciplinary record, and there being no aggravating factors, the Committee reduced the sanction by three weeks before imposing a three-week suspension.

Given his upcoming playing schedule which includes matches on 27 December, 3 January and 15 January, Fish is free to play on Monday, 17 January 2022. If he applies for a World Rugby Coaching Intervention, he will be free to play on Tuesday, 4 January 2022.

Both the player and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.

Will Muir appeal refused

The Bath Rugby wing, Will Muir, has had his appeal against a four-week suspension refused following an independent Appeal Committee Hearing by video conference today (Thursday, 23 September).

Muir was cited for having made contact in a reckless manner with the eye of Leinster Rugby’s Josh van der Flier in the 14th minute of the Leinster v Bath Heineken Champions Cup Round 1 match at the Aviva Stadium in contravention of Law 9.12.

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.

The citing complaint was upheld by an independent Disciplinary Committee and Muir was suspended for four weeks.

The independent Appeal Committee comprising Pamela Woodman (Scotland), Chair, Jamie Corsi (Wales) and Donal Courtney (Ireland), heard evidence and submissions from Muir, from his legal representative, Sam Jones, from the Bath Rugby Chief Operating Officer, Alex Cohen, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.

The Appeal Committee was not satisfied on the balance of probability that the decision appealed against was wrong, or that the original Disciplinary Committee had fallen into error, and the appeal was therefore refused.

Muir will remain suspended and is free to play on Monday, 10 January 2022.

EPCR CHALLENGE CUP

EPCR appeal refused

EPCR’s appeal against the dismissal of a citing complaint against the Section Paloise second row, Daniel Ramsay, has been refused following an independent Appeal Committee Hearing by video conference today (Thursday, 23 December).

The complaint arose from the EPCR Challenge Cup Round 1 fixture between Section Paloise and London Irish at the Stade du Hameau following which Ramsay was cited by the match Citing Commissioner, Gary Gordon (Scotland), for making contact with the eye of the London Irish second row, Rob Simmons, in the 44th minute in contravention of Law 9.12.

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.

The Disciplinary Committee dismissed the complaint on the basis that although Ramsay had made contact with Simmons’ eye or eye area, his actions did not warrant a red card. EPCR then lodged an appeal against the decision.

The Appeal Committee comprising Antony Davies (England), Chair, Roger Morris (Wales) and Gordon Black (Ireland) agreed to hear the case de novo and submissions and evidence were taken from Ramsay, who did not accept the citing complaint, from the player’s legal representative, Benjamin Peyrelevade, from the Section Paloise Head Coach, Sebastien Piqueronies. and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan. Evidence was also heard from the London Irish player, Rob Simmons.

The Appeal Committee found that the player had not committed an act of foul play that would have warranted a red card. The original citing complaint was dismissed, and therefore, EPCR’s appeal was refused.

Ramsay is free to play.

Notes

(i) Red Cards
a) The case of any player sent off in Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR 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 EPCR 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 www.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 www.world.rugby/organisation/governance/regulations/reg-17/appendix-1