Lenient ban for 'disgusting' bite
DISCIPLINARY UPDATE: Australia’s national women’s team captain Liz Patu has escaped with a slap on the wrist for a disgusting biting incident.
Patu, captain of the Wallaroos and a prop forward for the Queensland team, appeared before a disciplinary panel in Brisbane on Monday.
It follows the biting incident during the match between Queensland Women’s XV and Rugby WA Women at Suncorp Stadium last Saturday.
Following the hearing at QRU headquarters at Ballymore, Judicial Officer Chris Newton issued Patu with a suspension of six weeks, after she had entered a plea of guilty to the offence.
The entry point for a biting offence carries a 12-week suspension.
However, Patu received the full 50 percent reduction available under World Rugby regulations due to mitigating factors and her previous good character and clean disciplinary record.
Patu attended the hearing in person and was represented by Michael O’Brien of Fisher Dore Lawyers and Queensland Women’s XV team manager, Felicity Bennetts.
Patu has 48 hours to appeal the decision.
Patu provided the following statement after the hearing:
Liz Patu statement
“I’d like to express my remorse for my actions in Saturday’s match. I apologise to Rebecca Clough, the Rugby WA Women’s team, my own teammates and the wider Rugby public.
“I’ve played club, state and international Rugby and previously haven’t committed an act such as this and I accept my punishment.
“I want to reassure the Rugby public, administration and my fellow players, that when I return to play I will ensure that the game is played in the right spirit and do what I can to promote the Women’s game in a positive manner.
“My actions the other night were unacceptable and will not be repeated.”
The Queensland Rugby Union statement:
Queensland Super W program head and Queensland Women’s XV assistant coach Tyrell Barker said: “Queensland prop Liz Patu has pleaded guilty to the charge of biting, following Queensland’s Super W match against Rugby WA on Saturday evening.
“Liz has expressed her remorse,and extends an apology to the player in question, the Rugby WA Women’s team, her own teammates and the wider Rugby public.
“Behaviour like this is unacceptable in our game and we support the suspension handed down by the judiciary.
“As we continue to work to build the Women’s game, we need to ensure that players have a safe playing and training environment from the grassroots through to the elite level of the game.
“We also have a duty of care to the player in question. Liz has been a part of Queensland and National programs for a long time, and her actions on the weekend were out of character.
“We will work with Liz to ensure that when she returns to play, she will demonstrate the spirit of Rugby and abide by the laws of the game.”