There were mixed emotions for Australian Rory Arnold on Saturday after he scored a try for Griquas, then was red carded for simultaneously biting a player. Today he received a seven match suspension after a disciplinary hearing found him guilty.
Arnold received a red card for the offence midway through the second half of Griquas’ Currie Cup clash with the Free State Cheetahs. In bizarre circumstances, it happened in the process of scoring a pushover try, with tackler Ethienne Reynecke being on the receiving end.
The Australian, playing his first Currie Cup match, was red carded after Reynecke reported it to referee Craig Joubert, who used the assistance of the TMO before sending him off. The clear bite marks on Reynecke’s arm, as well as the TMO verdict, clearly made it an easy decision for Jourbert.
It’s the second biting incident in recent weeks, following Argentina number eight Leonardo Senatore being found guilty of biting during the physical battle with the Springboks two weeks ago.
Arnold appeared before a SARU disciplinary hearing and was today found guilty of contravening Law 10.4(m), and has been suspended from all rugby up to and including 19 October 2013.
He had in fact pleaded not guilty, explaining that the downward pressure on his head, while trying to access the tryline (with his mouth open), had caused the marks on Reynecke’s arm.
He was banned on the balance of probabilities and relying particularly on the victim’s immediate and spontaneous reactions and the doctors evidence.
The try stood, as the incident was deemed to have occurred after it was dotted down, so the Cheetahs were awarded a penalty on the on the halfway line. With a formidable halftime lead and then the man advantage, the Cheetahs won the game 40-20.
UPDATE 9/9/2013: Arnold has been cleared to resume playing after a successful appeal. He pleaded not guilty and explained that the downward pressure on his head, while trying to cross the tryline with his mouth open, had caused the marks on the arm of the Cheetahs player.
He is free to resume playing.