Argentina second-row Tomas Lavanini has been suspended after another red card for foul play, during the November 21st Test with Ireland.
The serial offender appeared before an independent judicial committee via video link having contravened Law 9.20 (a) (dangerous play at ruck/maul).
The independent Disciplinary Committee chaired by Roddy Dunlop QC (Scotland), joined by former internationals Becky Essex (England) and Stefan Terblanche (South Africa), heard the case, considering all the available evidence, including multiple broadcast angles and submissions from the player and his representative.
The powerful second row accepted that he had committed an act of foul play, but not that it was worthy of a red card.
— Channel 4 Sport (@C4Sport) November 21, 2021
Ireland stand-in skipper Peter O’Mahony was certainly fed up enough to issue a tongue-lashing at the time.
“That’s a ****ing red. You’re a scumbag. Scumbag stuff! You know exactly what you’re doing,” said a fired-up O’Mahony.
“He knows exactly what he’s doing. Scumbag. Hardman… That’s very unlike you…”
Having reviewed all the evidence, the committee deemed that there has been contact with the head of an opposing player, in circumstances where the contact was direct and carried a high degree of danger.
On that basis, the committee upheld the red card, and applied World Rugby’s mandatory minimum mid-range entry point for foul play resulting in contact with the head. This resulted in a starting point of a six-week suspension.
Having acknowledged mitigating factors including the player’s expression of remorse, his conduct at the hearing, and the fact that he has been taking active steps to ensure that his on field aggression was appropriately controlled, the committee reduced the sanction by two weeks. However, it thereafter required to consider the player’s previous dismissals, and in that regard the committee added one week.
The net result of this is a sanction of five weeks.
Lavanini applied to take part in the Coaching Intervention Programme, and this was approved by the panel. This means that he may be able to substitute the final match of his sanction for a coaching intervention aimed at modifying specific techniques and technical issues that contributed to the foul play.
This means that the suspension will cover the following matches, although the final match (against Toulouse) will be excluded if the Coaching Intervention Plan is completed successfully.
- Clermont Auvergne v Biarritz (Top 14) – 4 December, 2021
- Clermont Auvergne v Ulster (EPCR) – 11 December, 2021
- Sale v Clermont Auvergne (EPCR) – 18 December, 2021
- Brive v Clermont Auvergne (Top 14) – 26 December, 2021
- Clermont Auvergne v Toulouse (Top 14) – 1 January, 2022 (substituted if he successfully completes the Head Contact Process Coaching Intervention)
He has the right of appeal within 48 hours of the issuing of the full written decision.