Saints boss banned for ref abuse
NEWS: Northampton Saints Director of Rugby Chris Boyd will miss the next two matches, after being banned for referee abuse.
Boyd has been reduced to the role of ‘a spectator’ after pleading guilty to disrespecting the referee during his side’s recent Premiership match with Saracens.
Boyd was charged with actions that were “prejudicial to the interests of the union and the game, contrary to RFU Rule 5.12” – after criticising the performance of referee Adam Leal in their loss to Saracens.
The Saints boss said Leal “didn’t have enough nuts, did he?””, after failing to issue a yellow card against Saracens during a series of scrums under the posts at a stage when the match was in the balance.
Boyd added: “I mean it was a clear hinge. There was only one side under pressure in that series of scrums.”
In a statement after the hearing the panel said it concluded that the offence was to be dealt with as one amounting to disrespect of the authority of a match official and rejected the submission that the words spoken by Boyd should be categorised as verbal abuse of the referee.
“The panel, however, took the view that as a case of disrespect it should be placed within the mid-range entry point given the nature of the words used, the number of journalists present, the inevitability that the remark made by Boyd would be widely reported, the potential impact on the referee and his standing in the rugby community coupled with the importance of maintaining the core values of the game.
“The panel considered that Boyd was entitled to the full available mitigation in the light of his acceptance of the charge, his obvious and genuine regret at his choice of words coupled with his apology expressed directly to the referee in question even before the potential for a misconduct charge had been raised, the impressive character material submitted in support and his impeccable discipline record.
“The result was that the panel imposed a two-match suspension from all match day coaching duties (meaning he can only attend as a spectator), but also directed that Boyd should present to the playing and non-playing members of the club on the topic of the need for respect for match officials and that he should undertake a second presentation to a school or local rugby club of his choice so as to get the same message out at a grassroots level.”
Boyd will miss the European Cup games against Ulster (Sunday, January 16) and Racing 92 (a week later).
* Meanwhile Jersey Reds Director of Rugby Harvey Biljon also appeared before an independent disciplinary panel.
Biljon was also charged with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the union and the game contrary to RFU Rule 5.12, relating to his comments after the game against Bedford Blues on Boxing Day.
Panel chair Martin Picton said: “Harvey Biljon accepted the charge.
“The panel accepted the joint position that this case was the equivalent of a low-end entry point (noting that under Rule 5.12, the sanction is at large) which has a starting point of two weeks suspension. The panel were not persuaded by the submission that the offence merited a reprimand only and that any suspension could itself be suspended for a period. This kind of conduct means that an immediate suspension is appropriate.
“Mitigation was given on account of the full acceptance of the charge, his apology and remorse for the comment, the open and honest way in which Biljon engaged with the panel, the supporting character evidence and the lack of any previous similar offending.
“In addition, Biljon spoke of the steps he had taken to educate others at the club since the incident which the panel commended.
“This means a one-game suspension from all match day coaching duties (meaning he can only attend as a spectator), which will be served over the game against Doncaster Knights on the 15 January.”