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Vunipola set for hearing following EPCR red card

BY Jack Tunney  ·  Tuesday Dec 12, 2023

Saracens and England Number 8, Billy Vunipola, has found himself in hot water following his sending off in Saracens Champions Cup match loss against the Vodacom Bulls last weekend.

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The 31-year-old received a red card during the second half at Loftus Versfeld from referee Andrea Piardi for a hazardous clearout of Bulls Number 8, Cameron Hanekom. As a result, Vunipola is scheduled to undergo a hearing via video conference to find out his fate.

An EPCR statement read: “The Saracens No 8, Billy Vunipola, was issued with a red card during his club’s Investec Champions Cup, Round 1 match against the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, 9 December 2023.

“Vunipola was sent off by the referee, Andrea Piardi (Italy), in the 52nd minute of the match for a dangerous strike to the head area of the Vodacom Bulls No 8, Cameron Hanekom, in contravention of Law 9.12 and Law 9.11.

“Law 9.12 Physical abuse of an opponent – punching or striking with hand, arm, elbow or shoulder
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.12 relating to striking with the hand, arm, elbow or shoulder carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 6 weeks; Top end: 10 to 52 weeks

“Law 9.11 Reckless or dangerous play – leading with the elbow or forearm
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.11 relating to dangerous play carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 6 weeks; Top end: 10 to 52 weeks

“Jennifer Donovan (Ireland), Chair, Tony Wheat (Ireland) and Valeriu Toma (Romania) have been appointed as the independent Disciplinary Committee for the hearing which will take place by video conference this evening (Tuesday, 12 December).”

Despite boasting an almost full strength XV, Saracens struggled away from home as they found themselves short on discipline and ideas. Yellow cards from both Maro Itoje and Alex Goode didn’t help proceedings as the Bulls pulled away 27-16 victors.

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