Wednesday, December 09, 2009
The fate of Matt Banahan will tonight be decided by a three-man RFU disciplinary panel after the Bath wing was sent off for stamping against Northampton Saints in the Guinness Premiership on the weekend.
Banahan was shown a straight red card following his stamping on Stephen Myler, and action that could mean he faces a suspension of at least two weeks. Bath will apparently contest the red card and possible ban, as the England wing stands to miss back-to-back Heineken Cup games against Edinburgh.
"It didn't look like a red card," said head coach Steve Meehan.
Myler, the player who was on the receiving end of the 6ft7 wings boot, played down the incident, which will possibly work in Banahans favour when it comes to a ruling.
"Myler said that he made contact with his forearm, not his head, but the assistant referee said he made contact with his head. The referee wasn't influenced by anyone except the assistant referee who told him it was a red card," he said.
While there is a difference between stamping and rucking, many have called for the latter to be brought back into the game, including former players who can see the value in getting a player to release the ball, or get on his side, by administering a bit of shoe-pie .
If this were 15 years ago, the incident would go unnoticed, but the rules these days are clear, so Banahan will most likely be facing a couple of weeks on the sideline.
Update 10/12/2009: Following the disciplinary hearing late last night, it was confirmed that he has been handed a two week suspension.