The ERC disciplinary hearing took place in Dublin today for the four players cited in Round 1 of the Heineken Cup.
We think some of them seem to have got off lightly, so we’ve found some clips of the incidents and the sanctions received – let us know what you think.
Munster centre Tuitupou was charged with a dangerous tackle on Paul Hodgson in their match against London Irish on Saturday.
Having pleaded not guilty, the judicial officer deemed that the offence was at the lower end of their seriousness scale and banned the player for three weeks.
Here’s the clip courtesy of RugbyDump.com – jump to 1m16 for a slow-mo of the incident.
Williams was charged with ‘striking with the knee’ in the Cardiff Blues v Edinburgh match, after an incident in which he appeared to deliberately drop his knee onto Chris Paterson’s head.
Williams pleaded guilty at the hearing, and was banned for two weeks. Check out the incident below, and let us know your thoughts.
Here is the clip courtesy of the Welsh Rugby Blog.
The ERC press release contained the following paragraph, which gives a clue as to why they were so lenient.
The possible ‘entry points’ for a strike with the knee in contravention of Law 10.4(a) are lower end: three (3) weeks; mid-range: eight (8) weeks; and top end: 12 weeks or more. Having determined the appropriate ‘entry point’, the independent judicial officer was then required to consider whether that ‘entry point’ should be varied to take into account any mitigating factors (such as the player’s conduct, remorse and plea) and any aggravating factors (such as his previous record and any need for deterrence).
In my view, the Williams knee is much more serious than the Tuitupou tackle, and my instinct at hearing the news of that ban when it broke was that he was lucky to get away with three weeks. Williams’ two weeks doesn’t make sense.
Clermont lock Jamie Cudmore was banned for 10 weeks at the same hearing for “kicking / stamping / trampling” on Saracens flanker Jacques Burger.
He pleaded not guilty, and whilst there doesn’t seem to be any footage of the incident, the ERC press release had this to say about the decision:
The possible ‘entry points’ for stamping under Law 10.4(b) are lower end: two (2) weeks; mid-range: five (5) weeks; and top end: nine (9) weeks or more. Having determined the appropriate ‘entry point’, the independent judicial officer was then required to consider whether that ‘entry point’ should be varied to take into account any mitigating factors (such as the player’s conduct, remorse and plea) and any aggravating factors (such as his previous disciplinary record and any need for deterrence).
There has often been debate on The Rugby Blog about sanctions, and the theme that always emerges is the need for consistency. These decisions all took place at the same hearing, but even they aren’t consistent with each other.
What do you think? Is Williams’ two week ban enough of a deterrent to other players who might be thinking of kneeing someone in the head?