England flanker Lewis Ludlow was cited for an act of foul play in England’s international match against Canada on 10 July 2021 and was subsequently suspended for four weeks.
Ludlow appeared to be trying to move his foot over a player but caught the face of a Canadian forward in the process. He was yellow carded at the time.
The independent Disciplinary Committee chaired by Roddy Dunlop QC (Scotland), joined by former elite player Jamie Corsi (Wales) and former international coach Frank Hadden (Scotland), heard the case, considering all the available evidence, including multiple broadcast angles and submissions from the player and his representative.
The player admitted that he had committed an act of foul play worthy of a red card. Having reviewed all the evidence, the committee deemed that:
– The offence was a breach of Law 9.11 (players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others)
– The foul play was not intentional but was a reckless act
On that basis, the committee 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-match suspension.
You can watch the incident in full below, from the moment he makes contact with the face at 28 minutes on a match clock
The committee acknowledged mitigating factors including the player’s admission of foul play but noted that the player did not have a clean disciplinary record.
Accordingly, the committee reduced the six-match entry point by two matches resulting in a sanction of four matches being imposed, applicable to the player’s upcoming club matches with Gloucester:
- 28th August – Ealing
- 4th September – Ealing
- 11th September – Hartpury
- 18th September – Northampton
Ludlow intends to apply to take part in World Rugby’s recently launched Head Contact Process Coaching Intervention Programme which is aimed at modifying specific techniques and technical issues that contribute to the foul play.
The committee approved the application and the player and his coach will therefore submit a coaching intervention for consideration by World Rugby’s expert Review Panel.
Following confirmation by the panel of successful completion, the final match of the player’s sanction will be substituted by the Coaching Intervention and the player would therefore be free to play in Gloucester’s match against Northampton on 18 September 2021.
The player may apply to take part in the Coaching Intervention Programme 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.