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Thursday Mar 18, 2021

Three-week suspension for Connacht 'shoulder charge direct to the head'

Connacht’s Jarrad Butler has been banned for three weeks after being sent off in his side’s narrow Pro14 defeat at home to Edinburgh last weekend.

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Butler was shown his marching orders in the second half following a dangerous tackle on Edinburgh second-row Andrew Davidson.

It looked like a fairly innocuous collision despite Butler contacting Davidson’s neck area with his shoulder. It is the sort of incident which has previously resulted in a yellow card or penalty.

But by the letter of the law, Butler was shown a straight red by referee Chris Busby after consultation with his Television Match Official Olly Hodges.

A Pro14 statement read: “The Player was shown a red card by referee Chris Busby (IRFU) under Law 9.13 – A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously. Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, tackling or attempting to tackle an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders.”

Butler’s three-week ban will cover three “meaningful matches”, which will be Connacht’s next Pro14 game against the Scarlets this weekend, as well as two European Challenge Cup games (should Connacht make it through to the quarter-finals).

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In the event of Connacht not making it past the Round of 16 match, Butler would then be banned from the opening round of the Pro14 Rainbow Cup instead.

Youtube highlights version in case the above clip doesn’t work:

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