The Ulster Rugby prop, Andy Warwick, has been suspended for three weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing arising from his club’s Heineken Champions Cup, Round 1 match against Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Warwick was cited by the match Citing Commissioner, Wejdane Limame (France), for a dangerous tackle on the Sale Sharks centre, Manu Tuilagi, in the 33rd minute 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 Roger Morris (Wales), Chair, Frank Hadden (Scotland) and Leon Lloyd (England) considered video imagery of the incident and heard submissions from Warwick, who accepted that he committed an act of foul play but that it did not warrant a red card, from the player’s legal representative, Derek Hegarty, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.

The committee upheld the citing complaint, finding that in executing the tackle in a dangerous manner, Warwick had made contact with Tuilagi’s head. It then determined that the offending was at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and six weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point.

As the player has a good disciplinary record, and as he admitted that he had committed an act of foul play, it was decided to grant him the full 50% mitigation and the committee therefore reduced the sanction by three weeks before imposing a three-week suspension.

Warwick is free to play on Monday, 2 January 2023, however, if he applies for and successfully completes a World Rugby Coaching Intervention, he will be free to play on Monday, 26 December 2022.

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