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Friday, March 30, 2012

Calum Clark banned for 32 weeks for breaking another player's arm

Last night the ruling in the Calum Clark hearing made, with the Northampton Saints loose forward being suspended from the game for 32 weeks. He will only play again in November. Below is a short report with a reverse angle of the incident.

The 22 year old flanker was cited for his seemingly unprovoked attack on Leicester Tigers' Rob Hawkins, which left the hooker with a broken arm after his elbow was hyperextended.

Hawkins had surgery earlier this week and will be out of rugby for the rest of the season. At one stage it appeared as though he might have been out of a contract as he was playing for a renewal, but Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill has stepped out and said that they'll take care of him.

Clark pleaded guilty to hyperextending Hawkins' right arm, and to committing 'an act contrary to good sportsmanship'. As expected, he received a fairly heavy ban, although it appears that in many circles the opinion is that a heftier punishment wouldn't have gone amiss.

He will be out of rugby until 1 November though, and will also have to pay hearing costs of £500. He has the right to appeal and Northampton Saints are backing their player, reportedly saying they are disappointed with the severity of the ruling.

"The disciplinary panel found that Calum Clark had not intended to injure Rob Hawkins in the course of moving his arm. Accordingly, the unfortunate injury suffered by Rob Hawkins was unintentional.

"In the light of that finding of the disciplinary panel, Northampton Saints is bound to express concern and disappointment at the imposition of such a long suspension, even after significant mitigation in recognition in what was accepted to be Calum Clark's genuine remorse," they said.

The RFU have published a full report from the hearing, which you can view here.

The incident was featured when he was first cited so you can watch the full clip here, but below is a quick news report from this morning, which features a reverse angle of what happened. 

Video: Sky News

Posted at 8:08 am | 47 comments

Calum Clark cited for bending Rob Hawkins' arm backwards

Young Calum Clark red carded for a head butt - JWC

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 47 comments

Gunner Seven March 30, 2012 9:55 am

He needs to be banned permanently, and disowned by his club. No place for this in the game - pure thuggery.

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Tanora March 30, 2012 10:01 am

What a disgusting, scummy piece of shit he is. Right now, I feel like 32 weeks isn't enough.

England fans, would you ever really want someone like this representing your country?

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Arfur March 30, 2012 10:22 am

That comment from Northampton brings the game into disrepute. Even considering appealing shows that they have no respect for the game.

'Moving his arm' - how stupid do they think people are. If they do appeal I sincerely hope that the ban is increased to the absolute maximum.

As for Clark - he pleaded guilty and will have time to reflect on how he approaches the game. I think once he has done his time and if he reaches the required the standard he can be given another chance. Think about other player who have committed similar acts of thuggery and been allowed back. Mealamu, McRae, Hartley, Parisse, Dupuy all spring to mind

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Full Back March 31, 2012 8:11 am

What did Parisse do?

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Pretzel March 31, 2012 12:18 pm

I'm guessing he is referring to the eye gouge:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_MUIFrwWXQ

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Nivek March 30, 2012 10:37 am

"The disciplinary panel found that Calum Clark had not intended to injure Rob Hawkins in the course of moving his arm. Accordingly, the unfortunate injury suffered by Rob Hawkins was unintentional."

It is so clear from the video that he intended to injure Rob Hawkins. I don't know how the disciplinary panel came up with that conclusion. Also, it shouldn't matter a damn if he shows 'genuine' remorse... sure, his ban would be greatly extended if he didn't - and he knows that. He will do anything he thinks will work to shorten his ban.

Was this Calum Clarks explanation: "I was just trying to get his arm out of the way.... by bending it backwards".

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Jake Norman March 30, 2012 11:08 am

I'd like to understand how they came to the conclusion it was unintentional. Pulling his arm had absolutely no impact on getting hawkins out the way or off the ball. Nothing to do with the game whatsoever.
That ban is very justifiable in my eyes, if not I'd like it to be longer.

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Nigel March 30, 2012 11:09 am

Decisions like this make a mokery of the citing and disciplinary process. When you consider the length of bans handed out to Duprey and Attomb surely should be inline with these. Have lost a great deal of respect for Saints as a club as well for their stance

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flyingpepper March 30, 2012 11:17 am

That's rubbish 32 weeks is nowhere near enough

Hope he never buts an England shirt on again

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ulsterbygraceofgod March 30, 2012 11:17 am

I love the comment at the end of the write up for "Young Callum Clark red carded for a headbutt - JWC" video

"Let's hope in the future we see more of this highly regarded youngster, but for all the right reasons."

Growing up fail.

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Paul March 30, 2012 11:33 am

He's done filthy things before and of course the 32 weeks is perfectly justifiable for what he did to Hawkins. I was on here last week saying he should be given a good hiding and a life ban, but that was a bit kneejerkish. Hes only about 4 years out of school and everyone can make stupid mistakes. Hopefully during his sabbatical he can realize all the perfectly legal was there are in rugby to vent aggression in a way that really benefit's the team. The “youl never play for England” stuff is a bit harsh perhaps. Hopefully the rugby fraternity can trust that Clark will come back reformed and put in a few years of exemplary discipline…. Also great to see the Loaylty from Cockerill in renewing Hawkins contract last week

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Tex15 March 30, 2012 11:47 am

This is ridiculous, how can Matt Stevens get suspended for two years for taking cocaine, whereas this THUG commits nothing short of assault AFTER the whistle and only gets 32 weeks. Most of which will be over the off-season. I feel he should have a significantly longer ban (minimum 1 year) and his case should be referred to the appropriate authorities for criminal prosecution!

As rugby players we tend to be physically stronger and more intimidating than the average person and therefore we have a duty to be disciplined. This is a result of the complete opposite of this and goes against everything that rugby is about!

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Matt March 30, 2012 12:12 pm

Not a long enough ban, pointless thuggery... cant see Lancaster picking him in the future.

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Pretzel March 30, 2012 12:32 pm

I am with the majority on this one. Definitely not long enough. I view this in similar light as gouging, both actions are more than just instinctive lashing out, both require some thought, and both can lead to nasty injuries.

EVERYTHING is against Clark in this incident, yet the penalty they impose is only 32 weeks... Surely a huge amount of that will be over the pre-season sessions anyway... I am actually shocked at how this can be viewed as it was, "moving his arm" really? Someone give me the number for Calum Clarks lawyer, I could do with having that if I ever get myself into trouble:

"No your honour, I just held my fist out and he ran onto it about 5-6 times"

It is bullshit, it was after the whistle, there was no need for him to move someones arm like that, and his "genuine remorse" probably only came about when Cockerill had a quiet word with him..

Let me guess they imposed a 52 week ban but then reduced it by 10 weeks for the guilty plea and then reduced 10 weeks again for his "remorse".

The stance from the Saints just goes to show that teams are in it for the win at whatever the costs...

Losing a lot of respect for this game..... I suppose we shouldn't let this incident get to us, but the ridiculous bans for some things and not for others is getting old and tiresome.

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Campo March 30, 2012 12:41 pm

So if I summarise, you do eye gauging without any injury to the other player and get 70+ weeks of ban (Attoub on Ferris) but you deliberately armlock someone to a point where he can' play for 3 months and get 32 weeks of ban.... and your club find the sanction too severe....

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Colombes March 30, 2012 1:25 pm

I don't know what to think about this ban.
In one hand, it's long enough to make him understand to stop his thuggeries
But in an another hand, i feel that the ban should have been longer, maybe 1 year, as callum is a recidivist, as hawkins will have a long reeducation, and that a large part of the ban will be during holidays...............................

waiting for the report to understand more about it

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Rugbydump March 30, 2012 1:57 pm

The full report from the hearing is now linked to in the above article. It makes for interesting reading, and includes testimonies from Clark himself.

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Pretzel March 30, 2012 10:18 pm

RD I know you tend to try and remain as impartial over events as possible, but seeing as what we seem to have on this video is rugby fans uniting and voicing their opinions on the length of the ban would it be too much to ask if you feel 32 weeks is too severe, too lenient or just right?

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trollface March 30, 2012 2:17 pm

what a dirty fuck. no place in the game for that. should have gotten at least 2 years.

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nathan March 30, 2012 2:28 pm

So the saints thought his ban should of been as long as hawkins was out injured. Pathetic!

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Colombes March 30, 2012 2:32 pm

ok, i've read RFU report, and clark, is just incredibly lucky (for not saying another unappropriate word)
so Jeff Blackett (the same guy who crucified Attoub because of eye-gouge and recidivism) decided that:

-Clark didn't intent to deliberately hurt Hawkins (when everybody here and there seem to agree that he tried to hurt hawkins) and so avoid a 5 YEARS BAN
-The appropriate ban should be 64 WEEKS...
- ...but because of Clark remorses, contrition and exemplarity (wasn't he known for being a thug?), the ban will be divided by 2 >> 32 WEEKS!
Speechless

i don't take any pleasure to see professional players receive huge bans, but when it's necessary, u must be severe. Seem that RFU bans are like Sales: 50% discount for everybody.

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Pretzel March 30, 2012 3:45 pm

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA That is hilarious, I had guessed at him getting 20 weeks reduced for being "sorry" and for pleading guilty, but to get his sentence halved is so ridiculous it actually becomes funny.

Meanwhile Hawkins gets three months out and who knows how much more time for physio etc...

Absolutely hilarious.

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Tullowtank March 30, 2012 3:07 pm

32 weeks is a long time and I am glad to see that this will at the very least be a serious hindrance to his career, a deserved punishment for that horrbile act. With a new coach in charge of England Clark has much to lose out from being banned for the majority of the rest of this calander year, making it very tough to get back into the EPS and even be near the test 22.

That said I still think that this ban is far too short. He played the game in a cloud after the incident, I hear. Of course he did, he performed a stupid, dangerous and disgusting act without fully thinking and then knew the would be caught and cited. Players must control themselves, if you cannot and do something like this you should be punished and punished severly. They are grown men, not young boys who should know better. It is time to treat them like adults in the citing procedures and ban them heavily for acts such as this. A year ban would not only have been more appropriate but also much more symbolic and would help drive players like this out of the game and prevent them from doing it again. I've said it before and I am glad to see others agreeing that this kind of behaviour is much worse in my eyes than drug cheats. Players who take recreational drugs aren't cheating like those who take performance enhancing drugs and also are only dangering their own careers, the name and image of the game and their own health through their stupidity. Acts like this endanger another man's livlihood and his future. They must be stopped.

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Jaded Forward March 30, 2012 3:11 pm

32 weeks might be reasonable, with a bit of a tweak:
The ban starts today, but the 32 week countdown starts on the day Hawkins returns to the pitch. So ultimately he can sit and think about it for 32+X weeks (where X=Hawkins' recovery time). That way it sort of matches the severity of his crime.

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Vanadyel March 30, 2012 3:15 pm

At the same time, the (unforgivable, and I agree) David Attoub had a 70 week suspension for eye gouging...

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Vanadyel March 30, 2012 3:27 pm

Although to be honest, point 6 of the hearing is very interesting, though noone can say if he's being honest or not.

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Pretzel March 30, 2012 5:12 pm

That report is bollocks in my opinion. Anyone who has EVER done anything illegal or bad and has been caught knows damn well that you come out with any and every excuse under the sun. The difference with THIS compared to what WE all do is that he had a week to prepare his answers, and a week to review the video over and over so that he could come up with a decent excuse.

I don't believe a word he said. Remorse is often the reasons for reduced penalties, but lets face it, in this game with the hundreds of camera angles etc you'd have to be an imbecile to not try and say sorry. You know when you do something bad its going to be caught, trying to apologise is the obvious way. The fact that he said he tried to apologise is there to try and reduce his sentence.

If I punch someone in the mouth and then apologise because I lost my cool, that should NOT having any influence on the punishment. It wouldn't have any influence on the other players mouth, so why should the punishment be less.

I thought "intent" was never a call, so therefore who cares WHAT he tried to do and WHY he tried to do it. Fact still remains he put another player in an arm bar and broke it...

The worst part of all of this is it makes me seem like a bitter old Tigers fan when I have NEVER supported them...

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Spuff March 30, 2012 5:56 pm

Far too lenient for the his actions.

What a mockery of the RFU disciplinary system.

"The disciplinary panel found that Calum Clark had not intended to injure Rob Hawkins in the course of moving his arm. Accordingly, the unfortunate injury suffered by Rob Hawkins was unintentional."

After the whistle and never approached Hawkins immediately after as he knew what he done... Intentional.



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MattyP March 30, 2012 6:55 pm

Given that a rugby player just got six months' at her Majesty's pleasure for punching a player and breaking his jaw - I have to believe that the Crown Prosecutors must be taking a good hard look at this case. And, frankly, for mine, this is the type of over-stepping the line a rugby field where it should become a legal matter, and not just an administrative matter.

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Brian March 30, 2012 7:56 pm

What a joke,

If iit was unintentional then why the long ban?

Also the other stitch up was that they moved the date of the hearing to coincide with Stuart lancasters appointment to bury the news?

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Guy March 30, 2012 8:04 pm

The reverse angle makes it even look more disgusting than it allready was.

On one hand I can believe that his purpose was not to break his arm but just to hurt or intimidate the other player. Even if so, he took a big risk by doing it and it turned out completely wrong for the other player.

I would have had no problem with a longer ban. That said, he will miss the chance to tour this summer. And, at the risk of being naive, I honestly hope this moment will become a turning point in his behaviour on the pitch.

Time will tell....

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trollface March 30, 2012 8:06 pm

anyone know where i can see the super rugby playes of the week.

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Frenchie March 30, 2012 8:13 pm

Found that really, really shocking.
It's down to the judge and this guy is a pure joke. He should have made an example out of it !. Instead he made a mockery of it...disturbing as to how he made up his mind.

Biased & partial decision? You better be an Englishman if Blackett is in charge...

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Juggernauter March 30, 2012 8:26 pm

An action speaks louder than any words.

Sorry mate, you've been caught.

You are a disgrace for the game of rugby. There is no place in the game for someone like you. But we have an offer for you. Call me.

Yours sincerely,

UFC comittee

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Mr Lif March 30, 2012 8:47 pm

Should have been a lifetime ban: he's got form for thuggery and that was assault.

I actually think he should be up in front of the beak as well. Totally pre-meditated, watched what he was doing, mental.

Never on a pitch again would be my call. Horrifying.

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bnations March 30, 2012 9:30 pm

I found this section of Blackett's report encouraging:

In calculating the entry point I have therefore taken
that figure and added to it the length of time Hawkins is likely to be absent through
injury – that is 12 weeks.

I like that he tried to ensure that Hawkins would be back playing rugby before Clark.

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Andyboy March 30, 2012 9:35 pm

I'm with the majority.

He intended to hurt an opposing player, pure and simple.

Irrespective of the length of the ban, the reaction of his club sickens me. This is how "professional" sport operates; rugby is now as bad as soccer. Coaches and clubs defend their own players when they are clearly acting like thugs, whilst squealing like babies when the same acts are committed by other team's players.

Officials are now clearly scared of players and clubs, unable to keep order on the pitch and take the difficult decisions. How many times do we hear "I didn't see what happened" from referees and touch judges?

What a shame...

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Jimothy March 31, 2012 9:43 am

Could not agree with you more Andyboy. CC's action on the field are instinctual and heat of the moment. It was downright disgraceful but I'm not sure we should be calling for his head on a platter just yet. If he again commits an offence of this nature then I would agree that he should be banned from the sport permanently. The original ban of 64 weeks should have stood.

What is worse in my eyes is, like you say, the reaction of the club. To attempt to defend this action is contemptible especially after watching what is clearly a deliberate attempt to hurt the another player. CC was not even looking at the ball when he pulled on the arm so could not have been aware if it was released or not and so was only doing it for one purpose, to injure!

Listening to Jim Mallinder (sp?) speak I always thought of him as an old fashioned and honest rugby player/coach who stood up for the values of the sport whilst combining them well with the commitments of the modern professional game. It turns out I was wrong and am pleased he decided not to pursue the role of England head coach!

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Jimothy March 31, 2012 9:45 am

If he again commits an offence of this nature AGAIN then I would agree that he should be banned from the sport permanently. The original ban of 64 weeks should have stood.

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munstermark March 30, 2012 10:42 pm

The Headline is Callum Clarke banned for 32 weeks for breaking another player's arm who is the other player/player's?

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Oceansnz March 30, 2012 11:38 pm

Great! I was sickened to see him behave the way he did. If the ban is not long enough, then hopefully the shame of being "that guy" throughout his career will go some way towards preventing this behaviour creeping into our game.

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Ross March 31, 2012 1:29 am

Interesting report by the citing officer. I was in complete agreement with the comments above - despicable action. However, after reading the report, seeing Calums behavior after the game and accepting his remorse, the punishment seems fair. I have no history for Calum but suspect he did a stupid thing in a moment of madness and rightly felt awful about it. He'll be missing the England tour and is seen as a thug. If he has any integrity at all, this is punishment enough. I hope he has integrity.

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Pretzel March 31, 2012 12:25 pm

The problem is this could easily be crocodile tears. I actually doubt he meant to break Hawkins arm, but I do think he was trying to hurt it. I think when he realised he had caused significant injury he was "upset and worried"....for his own skin!.... Watch children being naughty, they are only sorry when they get caught!!!!

As for CC's testimony, he has had a while to review that video no doubt with a lawyer by his side. Perhaps he is telling the complete truth but something tells me he is lying, and to reduce the sentence by 50% for remorse is ridiculous. Any player who has a brain can fake remorse to get their sentence reduced. As I said before, if you're going to get caught (many camera's around the pitch obviously one will pick this up!) then your going to start to feel worried and sorry, not for the other player, but for what is coming your way!

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David March 31, 2012 1:40 pm

What strikes me as just pure insanity is that the citing officer and the club are, on one hand accepting and on the other supporting CC's statement that he was not intending any injury or harm, but lets be honest for a second when has anyoneput someone else in an arm bar thinking it wouldn't cause injury or harm? that is the exact purpose of an arm bar!!!

Rugby is becoming ridiculous, players being banned for good strong dump tackles (referring to the recent digby ioane tackle) yet commiting a CRIMINAL act on a rugby field only permits 32 weeks?

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Giovanni Trapotoni April 01, 2012 1:19 am

Dirty fucker. People like that shouldn't be left on the rugby pitch. I haven't worked out how long both players will be back both from the injury and suspension. But I think the fairest thing to do would be suspend Clark until Hawkins returns from injury, and then begin his 32 weeks suspension when Hawkins is back playing fully again. It would be very unfair to see Clark back on the rugby pitch before Hawkins after such a scummy incident.

Probably one of the worst bits of foul play I have ever seen. When your pulling a players arm back like that in such a manner there's only going to be one outcome. Complete scumbag and I hope he gets what he deserves in return

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aceno17 April 01, 2012 3:16 pm

I am confused as to why the sentence of 64 weeks was slashed in half just because Clark pleaded guilty ? If he pleaded guilty, then why would Northampton and Mallinder consider an appeal ? The sentence was reduced and they continue to disrespect the game by NOT condemning his actions. I am all for a club supporting a player, but in this case they are failing the game. This was an out and out act of thuggery and has NO place in the game.

For me the 32 weeks should not begin until Hawkins is fully healthy and wearing a Tigers 1st team jersey. As for clubs supporting the players.... Well done Cockers' for offering Hawkins a new contract this week...

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