Russian hooker Valery Tsnobiladze has been suspended for three weeks for a headbutt on Sean O’Brien during their 62-12 loss to Ireland on Sunday. It’s the third suspension of the 2011 Rugby World Cup so far.
Tsonobiladze joins Courtney Lawes and Dominiko Waqaniburotu in the naughty corner, with Lawes the only one of the three who will be free to play again in the tournament.
The Russian hooker had denied any wrongdoing, but video evidence (more replays than were showed on the live broadcast) and testimonies from the player himself, as well as O’Brien, resulted in judicial officer Jeff Blackett handing down a suspension that rules him out until October 17th.
Blackett called the incident reckless but not deliberate, and O’Brien wasn’t injured so Tsnobiladze’s potential sanction was reduced by a week due to his good disciplinary record.
The video doesn’t show much but you can see the hooker flying in with the head, which must have made contact with O’Brien on the floor, who got up looking rather agitated by what had happened.
Russia play Australia this weekend in their final game of the tournament, while Ireland meet Italy on Sunday in what will be a deciding match for the outcome of Pool C.