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New twist in stamping saga as EPCR launches appeal

DISCIPLINARY UPDATE: European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) is appealing the decision of an independent disciplinary committee to overturn the red card which was issued to the Bristol Bears player Josh Caulfield in Round Four of the Champions Cup

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Caulfield was sent off by the referee, Pierre Brousset (France), in the 13th minute of his team’s match against Connacht for stamping on Finlay Bealham’s head, in contravention of Law 9.12.

As he cleared the ruck, Caulfield can be seen raising his leg, apparently to step over prop Bealham. His boot comes down early, landing squarely on the side of the Connacht tighthead’s face.

However, a disciplinary committee comprising Paul Thomas (Wales), Chair, Marcello D’Orey (Portugal) and Stefan Terblanche (South Africa) determined that “Caulfield had committed an act of foul play, but it found that the offence did not warrant a red card, and the red card decision was therefore overturned”.

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That development drew a lot of criticism and former Test referee Nigel Owens also shared his opinion on the matter.

“How can they say this is foul play but not a red card,” Owens said on X at the time.

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“If it’s not foul play and complete accident then play on. If it’s reckless and foul play then it has to be RC.

“For what it’s worth, it’s a RC for me as it’s not a natural action of rucking and reckless. Glad I retired.”

An independent Appeal Committee comprising James Dingemans (England), Chair, Jean-Noël Couraud (France) and Donal Courtney (Ireland) will adjudicate on the matter by video conference on Tuesday.

 

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