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Thursday, April 12, 2012

John Afoa suspended for four weeks for dangerous tackle

Ulster's John Afoa has been suspended for four weeks following a dangerous tip tackle he made on Munster's Felix Jones in the second half of their Heineken Cup quarter final at Thomond Park on Sunday. Here is a look at it, and an explanation of the ruling.

All Black prop Afoa attended the disciplinary hearing in Dublin earlier today, accompanied by both legal representatives, and those from his Belfast based club, Ulster Rugby.

According to the ERC, he was cited by commisioner Peter Larter after there were concerns about a fairly dangerous looking tackle - according to the laws - he made on Munster fullback Felix Jones.

Afoa pleaded not guilty, but after independant Judicial Officer Jean-Noel Couraud had all the evidence presented to him, he felt that the tackle was in fact worthy of a Red Card. The tackle was deemed to fall under Law 10.4(j), Lifting a player from the ground and either dropping or driving that player's head and/or upper body into the ground whilst the player's feet are off the ground.

Couraud concluded that it was at the mid-range entry point of six weeks, and added an extra week as a deterrent, in line with the IRB's directive to stamp these types of tackles out of the game.

Law 10.4(j) is as follows: Low End: 3 weeks; Mid Range: 6 weeks; Top End: 10+ to 52 weeks.

Mitigating factors such as Afoa's clean record, good character, age, and experience were taken into account, so judicial officer Couraud allowed a reduction of three weeks, therefore imposing the final suspension of four weeks. They have the right to appeal.

Here's a quick look at the tackle. Lets us know what you think of the ruling as a comment below.

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