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Thursday Jul 30, 2015

Michael Hooper suspended for one week for striking Nicolas Sanchez

Michael Hooper suspended for one week for striking Nicolas Sanchez
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Michael Hooper strikes Nicolas Sanchez off the ball

Michael Hooper strike on Nicolas Sanchez

Posted by Great Rugby Videos on Monday, July 27, 2015

Wallaby flanker Michael Hooper has received a one week suspension for striking Argentina’s Nicolas Sanchez during their Rugby Championship match at the weekend. Hooper will miss just one club game, and is free to play in the Wallabies’ next match.

The SANZAR Judicial Hearing, chaired by Nigel Hampton QC via video conference, first started on Wednesday, but was adjourned and completed today. Hampton viewed multiple video angles of the incident, medical reports, and heard submissions from legal representatives.

In summary, Hooper’s described as a push with the open hand, similar to a fend, rather than a punch. This was not accepted, as Hampton rules that despite mitagating factors (Sanchez holding him back), the game cannot allow players to retaliate in such a manner.

Hooper’s good disciplinary record resulted in a reduced suspension from 2 weeks to 1 week. He will miss just one club rugby game in Australia, when Manly play Randwick this weekend.

Read full details from the hearing | Original post and Discussion

UPDATE: SANZAR have appealed the decision, so another hearing will take place on Sunday.

In his finding, Nigel Hampton ruled the following:

“As the Judicial Officer, I considered all the evidence before me including a number of videos which showed additional angles of the incident, medical reports for the Argentina flyhalf, Nicolas Sanchez, the citing commissioner’s report for the incident and submissions made for the player by his legal representative, Anthony Black SC.
 
“It was submitted on Hooper’s behalf that the action he performed was part of an attempt to stop himself being held by Argentina player, Nicolas Sanchez. The action was described as a ‘push with an open hand’ and not a punch. It was submitted that this action was similar to a fend by a ball carrier attempting to stop himself from being tackled. It was also submitted that the offence could not be made out as a strike because the law specifically lists the offences as the use of a fist, arm or elbow but not an open hand.

“I found that this submission could not be accepted. Allowing open hand striking motions such as this of force to any part of an opposing player’s body could not be deemed an act within the laws of the game and not able to be sanctioned. Striking with an open hand could fall within the definitions of a breach of Law 10.4 (a) Punching or striking.

“The action can not be compared to a fend by a ball carrier. A fend is an accepted arm/hand movement made by a ball carrier on a would-be tackler. In this incident, the ball was not in play.

“The video supports Hooper’s account of events that he was grabbed intentionally by Sanchez who maintained contact as he moved behind Hooper, causing him to become unbalanced, rotate around and effectively run backwards. This action was done to prevent Hooper from supporting a teammate who had the ball and was running towards the goal line. If Hooper was not held in this way, he could have supported his teammate in a number of ways so that his team could potentially score.  

“Hooper tried to extricate himself from the hold when he wasn’t released by Sanchez. The actions of Sanchez while deliberate, illegal and an act of considerable provocation, do not allow for retaliation in an illegal way including striking the opponent. Hooper’s account and the video support the notion that he did not punch the opponent in the face. However, it matters not where a strike lands on an opponent if there was indeed a strike.
 
“It was found that Hooper, in circumstances of considerable frustration and in order to try and rid himself of his opponent, drew back his free right arm and, voluntarily using additional momentum over and above that given to him by the actions of his opponent, struck out at the opponent’s head and neck area with his open hand, making contact with the back of the opponent’s neck and head with considerable, and intentional, force.

“After taking all relevant facts into consideration, I found that the striking offence was committed. I found the incident to have a lower end entry point which stipulates a two-week suspension. I found no aggravating factors to be present but did find a number of mitigating factors including Hooper’s good character and repute along with his good disciplinary record. On that basis, the maximum allowed reduction of 50% was given to the Player, reducing the period of suspension to 1 week.

“The Rugby Championship schedule is such that Australia’s next match is in two weeks time on 8 August 2015. However, due to Hooper’s limited playing time in the match in which he was cited, evidence was submitted and confirmed in the hearing that Hooper and other players who needed game time would be made available and scheduled to play on the weekend of 1 August 2015.

“The Sydney Club competition has qualifying finals this weekend with Hooper’s club Manly to play Randwick on Saturday 1 August 2015. I was officially advised in written form by all parties that if Hooper was available, he would play in this match. I was also advised that other players were being made available to their clubs which I accepted.

“I found this match could not be considered inconsequential and would have meaningful consequence for Hooper given his current competition and rotation within the Australian squad. The player has a close allegiance to the Manly club who have an important match this weekend and he expressed his desire to play in the match following the Argentina v Australia match. Under Regulation 17, all matches are equal and if a player is scheduled to play, then the match should be included in the suspension if it has meaningful consequence to the player.

“The player is found to have contravened Law 10.4 (a) and is suspended up to and including Saturday, 1 August 2015.”

17 Comments

  • danknapp
    11:59 AM 05/08/2015

    One week is about right. You're not allowed to hit people, although there were obviously aggravating circumstances. I think you could safely see the punch as self-inflicted, Sanchez deserved it.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    11:39 PM 01/08/2015

    What has happened to oldflyhalf? Has he gone mental? Why's he suddenly started speaking in tongues? I mean, I get he Talion law not applying point, but why so enigmatic Mr Half? Anyway it's less about the eye-for-an-eye revenge for me and more about the dodgy bastard rolling about on the floor. DrG, love the Anchorman clip. Spot on.

    Reply
  • drg
    10:49 AM 01/08/2015

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOpjYE-iPnY I don't actually know if you're agreeing or disagreeing with me :/ "It`s about The Rules, equal for all. That is all." In rugby they're called laws... it is against the rugby laws to hold someone back like Sanchez did... so equal for all? I'd be expecting to see him get a ban, it's only fair.

    Reply
  • oldflyhalf
    9:48 AM 01/08/2015

    - Bref, Thalion law, in a civilized world, not longer valid. :) - It`s about The Rules, equal for all. That is all.

    Reply
  • drg
    11:23 PM 31/07/2015

    It's about as legal as being a human leech and holding onto someones shirt while they're trying to play a game of rugby; which lets face it, is why all these guys actually turned up in the first place...

    Reply
  • drg
    11:20 PM 31/07/2015

    I'm also a little lost with your comments.... Sanchez was a play acting little bitch.. Granted a slap from Hooper can't be nice (or a punch), but when you start tugging shirts of any forward, you get what you deserve... I play second row/back row, I wouldn't say I'm entirely stable, but look at some of the international back rowers.. Schalk Burger, Lewis Moody, Serge Beston... some rather unhinged strange folks... I wouldn't go round tugging on any of their shirts...

    Reply
  • sangdue
    9:58 PM 31/07/2015

    What's the joke. Hopper hits him on the back of his head? Is that legal?

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    7:05 PM 31/07/2015

    This whole thing is so stupid. Firstly, banned for a week is probably about fair in terms of how these things are adjudicated. He definitely cuffed the bloke, he shouldn't have regardless of provocation, and people have gotten in trouble for less. (yes, we'd all have liked to have seen the Argentine bell-end who pulled him back and then rolled around like a soccer-twat punished - unfortunately for now, these are citable offences). The impact however of this ban was zero. Bans are supposed to result in missed games, so this was in effect a token punishment. But that is a design fault of the rugby disciplinary system, there's nothing the judicial guy can do about it. To cap it all, Sanzar - that's SA + NZ + Aus - lodge the appeal? I bet the Aussies were stoked about this turn of events. I'm tempted to believe the NZ reps put the SA guys - who really don't like the disciplinary process anyway - up to this; the former wanted to mess with the Aussies, and the latter were happy to go along because anything that pisses on the system is a plus. What a joke though.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    6:18 PM 31/07/2015

    It actually used to be like that, but the process was open to abuse because Club X would say - oh, well that means that this player will miss a midweek club game on Tuesday and another on Thursday and so he'll be free to play again on Saturday. I don't however think the current system is much of an improvement, but this is why we have it.

    Reply
  • facepalm
    5:07 PM 31/07/2015

    Was Hooper REALLY going to fly from Argentina back to Sydney, to play a low level (all relative) club game for Manly...a week before the bloody bledisloe?! Surely Cheika wants his whole squad together to prepare.

    Reply
  • reality
    3:56 PM 31/07/2015

    Come on now! Don't be so reasonable. Do you really expect the World Rugby disciplinary board to do something sensible like that?

    Reply
  • oldflyhalf
    3:43 PM 31/07/2015

    - "The Australian Rugby Union have issued a statement saying that they are "extremely disappointed" that SANZAR have appealed the sanction handed down to Wallabies flanker Michael Hooper." - "Furthermore, the ARU intends to cross-appeal the Judicial Officer's original finding that the player was guilty of committing an act of foul play," said the ARU in a statement." Yep, Hopper must, unmistakable, awarded "the fair play" trophy. :)

    Reply
  • facepalm
    1:44 PM 31/07/2015

    Just a thought - if bans are only significant in terms of how many games a player will miss, why do the IRB issue bans based on time. I get the impression things would be a lot less messy and open to dispute if a player is banned for x number of games, rather than x number of weeks?

    Reply
  • stroudos
    1:12 PM 31/07/2015

    I don't understand any of your comment, except the Stu Wilson quote, which I disagree with.

    Reply
  • oldflyhalf
    9:53 AM 31/07/2015

    ...is ridiculous, Nigel Hampton the same. Well, yes, with Sanchez, "you put your finger on the wound". Not only Sanchez should be suspended, but the entire team of Argentina plus 20 players from the All Blacks for "indiscipline infestation". And not a week, but by the end of the year. Forgive my sarcastic tone, but...Good luck ! :) "They clearly think he's worthwhile to bend the rules so he can play. Where's the suspension? A club game? What a joke. But good luck to them." Stu Wilson PS "Still no news on what ban Sanchez will get for his play-acting?" ...ban for what ?! :D Maximum maximorum: sin bin and penality try.

    Reply
  • 1:49 AM 31/07/2015

    The adjuticators decided your public shaming was punishment enough

    Reply
  • stroudos
    9:00 PM 30/07/2015

    Delighted that he only misses one fairly meaningless game ad will be be for Bledisloe action. Whilst I don't think any ban at all was necessary, any more severe punishment than this would have been ridiculous. Still no news on what ban Sanchez will get for his play-acting?

    Reply


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Michael Hooper suspended for one week for striking Nicolas Sanchez | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos