VIDEO: Just a slap on the wrist for eye-gouger
DISCIPLINARY UPDATE: La Rochelle hooker Pierre Bourgarit got away with no more than the proverbial ‘slap on the wrist’ for purposefully making contact with the eye area of Sale Sharks and England flank Tom Curry.
Bourgarit has been suspended for just six weeks, following a disciplinary hearing in London arising from his club’s Champions Cup, Round Two match against Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Bourgarit was sent off by the referee, Andrew Brace, in the 38th minute of the match for making contact with the eye area of Curry in contravention of Law 9.12.
The top-end range was 12 to 52 weeks. Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.12 relating to contact with the eye area carries at the Low End: four weeks and a mid-range of eight weeks.
The disciplinary committee heard submissions and evidence from Bourgarit, who accepted the red card decision, from La Rochelle’s Legal Representative, Christian Chevalier, from the La Rochelle Rugby Administrator, Robert Mohr, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.
The Committee upheld the red card decision finding that the act of foul play was deliberate and repeated with sustained pressure to Curry’s eye area.
It was decided that the offence was at the top end of World Rugby’s sanctions for contact with the eye area, however, it was also decided that there was no reason to consider a sanction greater than the minimum entry point of 12 weeks.
There were no aggravating factors, and taking into account the player’s guilty plea, clear disciplinary record and timely expression of remorse, the Committee reduced the sanction by the maximum of 50 percent before imposing a six-week suspension.
Bourgarit is free to play on Monday, January 6, and both he and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.
(Disciplinary update continues below video)
Jacques du Plessis suspended for five weeks
Meanwhile, Montpellier second row, Jacques du Plessis, has been suspended for five weeks following an independent disciplinary hearing arising from his club’s Champions Cup, Round Two match against Gloucester at the GGL Stadium.
Du Plessis was sent off by the referee, George Clancy, in the 56th minute of the match for striking the Gloucester second row, Gerbrandt Grobler, with his arm in contravention of Law 9.12.
An independent Disciplinary Committee heard submissions and evidence by video conference from Du Plessis, who accepted the red card decision, from the Montpellier Team Manager, Tom Whitford, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.
The Committee upheld the red card decision finding that Du Plessis had struck Grobler to the head with his arm in a reckless manner. As contact to the head carries a minimum mandatory mid-range sanction, according to World Rugby’s regulations, six weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point.
Due to the player’s prior disciplinary record, the Committee added one week to the sanction, but it also took into consideration his guilty plea and timely expression of remorse and then reduced the sanction by two weeks before imposing a five-week suspension.
Du Plessis is free to play on Monday, December 30, and both he and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.