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Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Rory Arnold banned for bite in process of scoring first ever Currie Cup try

There were mixed emotions for Australian Rory Arnold on Saturday after he scored a try for Griquas, then was red carded for simultaneously biting a player. Today he received a seven match suspension after a disciplinary hearing found him guilty.

Arnold received a red card for the offence midway through the second half of Griquas' Currie Cup clash with the Free State Cheetahs. In bizarre circumstances, it happened in the process of scoring a pushover try, with tackler Ethienne Reynecke being on the receiving end.

The Australian, playing his first Currie Cup match, was red carded after Reynecke reported it to referee Craig Joubert, who used the assistance of the TMO before sending him off. The clear bite marks on Reynecke's arm, as well as the TMO verdict, clearly made it an easy decision for Jourbert.

It's the second biting incident in recent weeks, following Argentina number eight Leonardo Senatore being found guilty of biting during the physical battle with the Springboks two weeks ago.

Arnold appeared before a SARU disciplinary hearing and was today found guilty of contravening Law 10.4(m), and has been suspended from all rugby up to and including 19 October 2013.

He had in fact pleaded not guilty, explaining that the downward pressure on his head, while trying to access the tryline (with his mouth open), had caused the marks on Reynecke's arm.

He was banned on the balance of probabilities and relying particularly on the victim's immediate and spontaneous reactions and the doctors evidence.

The try stood, as the incident was deemed to have occurred after it was dotted down, so the Cheetahs were awarded a penalty on the on the halfway line. With a formidable halftime lead and then the man advantage, the Cheetahs won the game 40-20.

UPDATE 9/9/2013: Arnold has been cleared to resume playing after a successful appeal. He pleaded not guilty and explained that the downward pressure on his head, while trying to cross the tryline with his mouth open, had caused the marks on the arm of the Cheetahs player.

He is free to resume playing.

Posted at 6:54 pm | 20 comments

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Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play, See it to Believe it

Viewing 20 comments

Jacob September 04, 2013 9:18 pm

Hmmm to me it looks like he falls on the arm with an open mouth. I would give benefit of the doubt impossible to tell otherwise.

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brawnybalboa September 04, 2013 9:22 pm

I am not going to deny that a bite has occurred during this, but does the video evidence prove that it is an intentional act? If the defenders forearm has accidentally gone into the attackers mouth when the tackle is happening, it is not unreasonable that the attacker reflexively closed his mouth, or that his mouth was forced to close due to the pressure on his head (especially the prop piling on at the end).

Usually bites are intentional, but I think this was a bit harsh as it could simply be an unusual accident!

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Ottawa Rugger September 04, 2013 9:53 pm

Of all the things to punish, let alone with this amount of evidence, this is what they punish? That looks so blatantly accidental...

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browner September 07, 2013 9:40 am

I cant believe what im reading ----- You're a prized prat........... unintentional biting....!!!!! god help us, whatever will be dreamed up next.... i played all my life and ive never seen unintentional biting, its thuggery. Cameras are weeding out the punchers, and the gouger's so the dirty bastards have started biting.... i vote he has his teeth removed as a punishment.

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brawnybalboa September 09, 2013 2:53 pm

Prized prat? As I stated in the first sentence I am not denying that a bite took place. I am asking whether the video evidence was conclusive proof that there was intent and that this wasn't an unusual accident. In cases of stamping the citing committees have shown a habit of bringing intent into the equation where it comes to bans (ie the Horwill AWJ incident).

May I point out that his appeal against the ban was successful. He was adjudged to be not guilty of biting by the SARU.

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Richard Church Keen September 04, 2013 9:50 pm

On the penultimate replay, he turns his head, opens his mouth and looks set to chow down on some prime forearm, but the replay cuts off. However add the bitemarks and it looks pretty damning.

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Francis September 05, 2013 2:47 am

I bit a fellow once...forearm came across my nose/mouth basically in a head lock during a maul and crushing off my capacity to breathe. I took the mindset that anything on the outside of my teeth was his and anything inside was mine. So I bit. He knew what he as doing so we exchanged pleasantries and both played clean from then on.

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DanKnapp September 05, 2013 5:42 am

I disagree with first few posters here. To leave bite marks on someone's arm requires you actively bite down, not just fall on someone's arm with your mouth open. The arm has got in his face, but that's just someone trying to stop a try. Nothing more. To then bite down is unacceptable.

Deserves a long ban, and I thought Joubert refereed it really well on the day given the limited evidence he had.

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Mick28 September 05, 2013 6:36 am

So by your rationale if you put an apple (or an arm) in your mouth then shove the apple (or arm) deeper into your mouth it wouldn't leave bite marks because you're not actively biting down.

Give it a try buddy. See if it leave a bite mark.

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Bunn September 05, 2013 12:39 pm

I'm just going to point out that an apple has many different characteristics to the forearm of a professional athlete. I would suggest that it is much easier to eat and apple than a man

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flanker2712 September 05, 2013 4:54 pm

Indeed. Try biting your own forearm to see how much pressure you need to exert to leave something that can clearly be identified as a bite mark!

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Mick28 September 05, 2013 8:23 pm

Well I'm not gonna fall over with my arm in my mouth (because that would be ridiculous) but I will suggest that if I did that it would leave a mark on my arm when I land

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Stubby September 07, 2013 6:44 pm

Or if one of your forwards falls on top of your head while someone's arm is in your mouth (at 2:15)

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CaliHooker January 21, 2014 8:41 am

I had to make an account to reply to these posts because it seems not alot of people realize how easy it is to leave a bite mark on the skin.

My 14 month old nephew can leave bite marks on me. I'm talking the kind that don't go away for a few hours. If a fully grown man chomps on you it's going to be a bloody mess and not just a mark.

Also I've been in plenty of pileups where the guy driving was screaming and then we went to ground and his open mouth left a nice ring of teeth on my thigh bicep or forearm. It happens all the damn time it's just most people don't go and whine to ref like soccer players. Which is exactly what 16 did.

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stroudos September 05, 2013 7:14 am

I know it's rugby and you don't dispute the ref's decisions or argue with him, but Arnold's reaction and body language to all of this indicates to me that he is guilty. If I got called over by the ref and he actually told me that I'd been accused of biting someone (and I hadn't), I'd find it very hard to restrain myself from saying "no I fucking didn't!".

Tell you what bothers me most about this clip though, the hooker (called out by Joubert at the beginning) didn't even know the name of his own bloody team-mate! "The uuuuhh Australian" might be acceptable if he was talking about a back but surely he ought to be on first name terms with a bloke who spends half the game with his head up his arse?

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Guy September 05, 2013 8:16 am

Although I agree with you to some extend I don't think in this case you can hold his behaviour towards the ref against him. Especially since he shows the kind of behaviour we all would love our kids to copy; no argueing, just accepting his decision made by the ref.

Off course I am totally against biting. But in some cases I can imagine reflexes kicking in like when you are being suffocated in a headlock.

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fastmongrel September 05, 2013 7:32 am

All these scientific meals they eat these days are useless for a forward. Give them a steak or two and they wont be so hungry.

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DaveSea September 05, 2013 8:35 am

Im against biting, no place for it in the game but with these new rules players are swinging forearms around players faces and hoping that there will be marks when they pull back up.
I have seen a few bites reviewed now, and not once was it asked why is ur arm up that high anyway

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gar1990 September 05, 2013 9:41 am

1.55min- "Can I wipe the spit off now" ..nice..

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DrG September 05, 2013 2:54 pm

I'm with Stroudos on this one, there was no pleading of innocence which is extremely rare in a professional era. I have no problem accepting my fate if I'm caught, but there is no way I'd cop the punishment for a bit if I hadn't done it!!!!

It was right at the bottom of a pile of bodies, probably in a slight revenge because of the forearm around his face; but in my opinion he looked like a man who had been caught doing something he thought he did well to hide.

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