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FOUL PLAY: What the disciplinary committees said about Marler, Lawes and Tuilagi

BY Grant Constable  ·  Friday Mar 13, 2020

Three sanctions were delivered last night after citings that arose in the England vs Wales Six Nations match at Twickenham this past weekend. The most controversial and spoken about is of course the Joe Marler incident, but there were also dangerous tackles by Manu Tuilagi and Courtney Lawes.

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While Marler’s awkward crotch grab on Alun Wyn Jones grabbed all the headlines, Tuilagi was actually red carded later in the match, and Lawes himself was in a bit of hot water after his tackle.

Here are the full hearing rulings for you to peruse, as well as short clips of each incident.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Manu Tuilagi

The England No.13, Manu Tuilagi, appeared before an independent Disciplinary Committee in Dublin today. Mr Tuilagi had received a red card in the match in the Guinness Six Nations Championship between England and Wales on 7 March 2020 at Twickenham. The red card was issued for an infringement of Law 9.16 (dangerous charge) when, in the 75th minute of the match, he tackled the Wales No.14, George North.

Mr. Tuilagi accepted that he had committed an act of foul play but did not accept that it warranted a red card.

The Disciplinary Committee, which comprised David Hurley (Ireland), Donal Courtney (Ireland) and Sarah Smith (Scotland), heard evidence and submissions from Mr Tuilagi and his legal counsel, Richard Smith QC respectively (as well as from Six Nations’ legal representative). The Disciplinary Committee found that Mr Tuilagi had committed an act of foul play (an infringement of Law 9.16) and that it had warranted a red card.

The Disciplinary Committee found that the act of foul play warranted a mid-range entry point (six weeks’ suspension) and reduced that by two weeks to take account of mitigating factors (including good conduct and immediate remorse).  Mr Tuilagi is therefore suspended for four weeks and, given his playing schedule, he is free to resume playing on Tuesday, 14 April 2020. He was reminded of his right of appeal.

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Courtney Lawes

The England flanker, Courtney Lawes, appeared before an independent Disciplinary Committee in Dublin today. Mr Lawes had been the subject of a citing complaint by the independent citing commissioner, Peter Ferguson, following the match in the Guinness Six Nations Championship between England and Wales on 7 March 2020 at Twickenham. The citing complaint alleged that Mr Lawes had infringed Law 9.13 (dangerous tackling) when, in the first half of the match, he tackled Alun Wyn Jones.

Mr Lawes accepted that he had committed an act of foul play, but he did not accept that it warranted a red card.

The Disciplinary Committee, which comprised David Hurley (Ireland), Sarah Smith (Scotland) and Donal Courtney (Ireland), heard evidence and submissions from Mr Lawes and his legal counsel, Richard Smith QC respectively (as well as from Six Nations’ legal representative). The Disciplinary Committee found that Mr Lawes had committed an act of foul play (an infringement of Law 9.13) but not such that it had warranted a red card, so the citing complaint was not upheld.

Mr Lawes is free to resume playing immediately.

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Joe Marler

The England prop forward, Joe Marler, appeared before an independent Disciplinary Committee in Dublin today. Mr Marler had been the subject of a citing complaint by the independent citing commissioner, Peter Ferguson, following the match in the Guinness Six Nations Championship between England and Wales on 7 March 2020 at Twickenham. The citing complaint alleged that Mr Marler had infringed Law 9.27 (acts against the spirit of good sportsmanship) when, in the first half of the match, he grabbed, twisted or squeezed the genitals of a Welsh player.

Mr Marler accepted that he had committed an act of foul play, albeit that he did not accept that he had grabbed, twisted or squeezed the genitals of the Welsh player and he did not accept that it warranted a red card.

The Disciplinary Committee, which comprised David Hurley (Ireland), Sarah Smith (Scotland) and Stefan Terblanche (South Africa), heard evidence and submissions from Mr Marler and his legal counsel, Richard Smith QC respectively (as well as from Six Nations’ legal representative). The Disciplinary Committee found that Mr Marler had committed an act of foul play (an infringement of Law 9.27) and that it had warranted a red card, so the citing complaint was upheld.

The Disciplinary Committee found that the act of foul play warranted a low-end entry point (twelve weeks’ suspension) and reduced that by three weeks to take account of mitigating factors (including good character and remorse) but increased it by one week to take account of his most recent disciplinary record. Mr Marler is therefore suspended for 10 weeks and, given his playing schedule, is free to resume playing on Monday, 8 June 2020. He was reminded of his right of appeal.

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