Shields cleared after Poite blunder
DISCIPLINARY UPDATE: Controversial referee Romain Poite was wrong in issuing a red card against England international Brad Shields.
This, in a nutshell, is the finding of an appeal hearing against the four-week ban handed down to Shields, who has been cleared to play for Wasps with immediate effect.
His appeal against the ban was successful.
The England international was suspended following his red card for a tackle in last Sunday’s Champions Cup loss to Munster.
The sending-off by the controversial French referee, Poite, was viewed as very harsh.
The New Zealand-born Shields had the red card decision upheld at a disciplinary hearing and was set to miss this weekend’s European game at Toulouse and three Premiership matches.
Wasps were furious with the outcome and their coach Lee Blackett explained this week that they would be appealing the verdict.
They were successful, as Shields win the appeal and is now free to play again.
He was named as his team’s skipper for their Round Two match in France, although doubt remains over the fixture because of new travel restrictions brought in by the French government.
In a statement on Friday EPCR confirmed Shields has had his appeal against the four-week suspension upheld.
“The appeal committee – comprising James Dingemans (England), a Chairman, Donal Courtney (Ireland) and Roddy Dunlop (Scotland) – considered video imagery of the incident and heard submissions from Shields, from the Wasps Team Manager, Dave Bassett, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan,” the statement read.
“The appeal committee agreed with the original decision that the red card threshold was passed. However, it decided that the disciplinary committee was wrong to find that there was no on-field mitigation.
“The appeal committee determined that there was on-field mitigation in that there was a late change in the dynamics of the tackle, due to the tackle of another Wasps player, Thomas Young.
“This reduced the red card to a yellow card for the purposes of World Rugby’s head contact process.
“Therefore the appeal was upheld, and Shields is free to play.”
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* Meanwhile Cardiff fullback Jacob Beetham has been suspended for three weeks, following a disciplinary hearing by video conference.
The ban arose from his club’s Champions Cup, Round One match against Stade Toulousain at Cardiff Arms Park.
Beetham was sent off by the match referee, Karl Dickson (England), in the 74th minute for tackling the Stade Toulousain replacement, Antoine Miquel, in a dangerous manner in contravention of Law 9.13.
The disciplinary committee – comprising Matthew O’Grady (England), as Chairman, Becky Essex (England) and Mike Ross (Ireland) – considered video imagery of the incident and heard evidence and submissions from Beetham, who accepted the red card decision, from the Cardiff Rugby Team Manager, Gafyn Cooper, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.
The Committee upheld the red card decision, finding that Beetham had made contact with Miquel’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, age and inexperience and good disciplinary record, the committee reduced the sanction by three weeks before imposing a three-week suspension.
Beetham is free to play on Monday, December 27 – if he successfully completes a World Rugby Coaching Intervention.
Both the player and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.