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Toulouse lock suspended for three weeks

NEWS: Toulouse replacement lock Richie Arnold has been suspended for three weeks.

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This decision came from an independent disciplinary hearing that stems from the Champions Cup Final at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 25.

In what was a dramatic and final, which went to extra time after it was locked up at 15-all after regular time, more drama made its way in the extra time period.

First James Lowe was yellow carded for a deliberate knock down which proved to be a huge difference maker in the end result, but just before the end of the first half of extra time, lock Richie Arnold was sent off with a red card by referee Matthew Carley after a dangerous cleanout on replacement Leinster prop Cian Healy, in contravention of Law 9.20(a).

Law 9.20(a) A player must not charge into a ruck or a maul
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.20(a) carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: two weeks; Mid-range: six weeks; Top end: 10 to 52 weeks

The independent disciplinary committee made up of Roddy Dunlop (Scotland), Valeriu Toma (Romania) and Leon Lloyd (England) studied video imagery of the incident and heard evidence and submissions from Arnold, from the player’s legal representative, Neil Robertson, from the Toulouse president, Didier Lacroix from the Toulouse Director of Rugby, Ugo Mola, and from the EPCR Disciplinary officer, Liam McTiernan.

Following submissions from Arnold’s legal representative, the committee accepted that the charge should be amended to Law 9.20(b).

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Law 9.20(b) A player must not make contact with an opponent above the line of the shoulders
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.20(b) carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: two weeks; Mid-range: four weeks; Top end: eight to 52 weeks

It was determined by the committee that Arnold had made dangerous contact with Healy’s head which led to the red card decision being upheld.

The decision is deemed to be at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions with four weeks being selected as a suitable entry point. Due to Arnold having served a previous suspension, the committee reduced the sanction by one week before imposing a suspension of three weeks.

Arnold’s suspension will run until June 24 after which he will be cleared to play, however, if he applies and completes World Rugby’s Coaching Intervention course he will be free to play by June 17.

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Both the player and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.

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