Poor Stuart Olding. His head must look similar to a rugby ball, because for the second time this season his attractive cranium has been roughed up by a boot. This time it was Munster lock Donncha O’Callaghan who did it, and has been suspended.
The incident occurred early in the second half of the Munster and Ulster Thomand Park clash last week Friday. When Olding needed medical attention it wasn’t clear to see what happened at first, but replays showed that O’Callaghan’s boot made contact with his head.
The 94 times capped Ireland lock appeared before a disciplinary committee in Glasgow, having been cited for allegedly kicking Olding in the Guinness Pro12 match.
They reviewed footage of the incident and listened to representations from, and on behalf of, O’Callaghan. They found that he had committed an act of foul play and upheld the citing complaint.
Their view was that the player’s actions had been reckless, but that the primary contact with the opponent had been on his shoulder and chest area. In terms of seriousness, his actions were at the lower end of World Rugby’s sanctions for foul play, which carries a 4 week entry-point suspension.
In light of mitagating factors and due to O’Callaghan’s clean record over a long playing career, together with his conduct at the hearing, the committee determined that he should be suspended from playing for a period of two weeks, up to and including Sunday, 14 December 2014.
“The committee accepted the action was not intentional,” said Munster’s team manager.
The ban rules the 35-year-old out of back to back fixtures against Clermont in the European Champions Cup, starting this Saturday at home, before the reuturn fixture in France on Dec 14th.
Olding, who was kicked in the head by Romain Taofifenua just over a month ago (resulting in a three week ban), left the field for treatment but came back on and finished the match.
View the incident below, and official highlights from the match on page two