Northampton Saints flanker Calum Clark has been suspended for three weeks after he pleaded guilty to striking Worcester Warriors lock Donncha O’Callaghan with the elbow during their Aviva Premiership match this past weekend.
Clark was cited following the match and faced a disciplinary hearing in Coventry yesterday. He pleaded guilty to committing dangerous play, under Law 10.4(a) for striking.
Clark and O’Callaghan came to blows in the first half when the England-capped flanker dropped down on the former Ireland lock, appearing to make contact with the face with his elbow.
A RFU disciplinary panel, comprising of HHJ Sean Enright (Chairman), Tony Wheat and Chris Skaife, found that Clark showed genuine remorse during the hearing.
“The panel found this was not a premeditated act but an intentional strike to the head of an opponent that merited a mid-range entry point of three weeks. The player’s remorse before the panel was genuine and heartfelt.”
It was not mentioned in the statement if Clark’s previous indiscretions came into consideration.
In 2008 Clark was red carded for a headbutt at the Junior World Championship.
In 2012 he was banned for 32 weeks after he deliberately hyper-extended the arm of Rob Hawkins, which caused a fractured elbow. At the time it was ruled that it was intentional, yet there ‘was no evidence that he intended to cause a serious injury’.
In recent years he appears to have turned his career around, but this latest incident won’t do his reputation any favours. He will be free to play again on 13 December 2016.
In the same match, Worcester Warriors’ Ryan Mills committed a dangerous tackle (contrary to Law 10.4(e)), and has been suspended for two weeks.