Chris Boyd has been banished to the stands for Northampton’s next two games after a misconduct charge for disrespecting referee Adam Leal was upheld.
Director of rugby Boyd said Leal “didn’t have enough nuts” after failing to issue a yellow card against Saracens during a series of scrums at a critical stage of Saints’ 30-6 defeat at Franklin’s Gardens.
The Kiwi accepted the charge of bringing the game into disrepute at a disciplinary hearing staged on Thursday evening and it was decided the offence was one of disrespect rather than verbal abuse of the official.
A two-match suspension was issued, meaning that Boyd can only attend the Ulster and Racing 92 games as a spectator and must not perform any coaching duties on the day.
Additionally, he must present to Northampton’s playing and coaching staff, as well as to a local school or club, on the subject of the need to respect match officials.
Boyd was given full mitigation when it came to sanctioning because of his “obvious and genuine regret at his choice of words, coupled with his apology expressed directly to the referee in question even before the potential for a misconduct charge had been raised, the impressive character material submitted in support and his impeccable discipline record”.
It was announced earlier this week that Boyd will return to New Zealand at the end of the season after spending five years at Northampton.
Jersey Reds Director of Rugby Harvey Biljon also appeared in front of a disciplinary hearing and was also charged with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the union and the game contrary to RFU Rule 5.12, relating to comments to a match official in their game against Bedford Blues on Boxing Day.
Panel chair Martin Picton said: “Harvey Biljon accepted the charge. The panel accepted the joint position that this case was the equivalent of a low-end entry point (noting that under Rule 5.12, sanction is at large) which has a starting point of two weeks suspension.
“The panel were not persuaded by the submission that the offence merited a reprimand only and that any suspension could itself be suspended for a period. This kind of conduct means that an immediate suspension is appropriate.
“Mitigation was given on account of the full acceptance of the charge, his apology and remorse for the comment, the open and honest way in which Mr Biljon engaged with the panel, the supporting character evidence and the lack of any previous similar offending. In addition, Mr Biljon spoke of the steps he had taken to educate others at the club since the incident which the panel commended.
“This means a one-game suspension from all match day coaching duties (meaning he can only attend as a spectator), which will be served over the game against Doncaster Knights on the 15 January.
“In addition to being suspended for one week, Mr Biljon is required to give two presentations on the core values and the importance of respect for match officials. He will also be required to provide the RFU with video evidence of the presentations which confirm his compliance with this requirement.”
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