Ospreys lock Ian Evans suspended for 13 weeks

Connacht’s Nathan White given three-match ban, scrumhalf Kieran Marmion and Cornell Du Preez free to play

Brad Barritt and Charlie Hodgson of Saracens square up with Connacht’s Kieran Marmion (number nine) during the Heineken Cup round six match at Allianz Park. Photograph: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Brad Barritt and Charlie Hodgson of Saracens square up with Connacht’s Kieran Marmion (number nine) during the Heineken Cup round six match at Allianz Park. Photograph: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Thu, Jan 23, 2014, 16:55

Connacht’s Nathan White has been suspended for three matches after being found to have stamped on Brad Barritt of Saracens during the Heineken Cup Pool three game at Allianz Park.

Scrumhalf Kieran Marmion has escaped a ban despite his citing for an incident in the same game being upheld.

Prop White was cited under Law 10.4(b), a player must not stamp or trample on an opponent, and after judicial officer Roger Morris (Wales) heard evidence, submissions and a guilty plea from White, and from Connacht’s legal representative Kevin Dineen, he upheld the complaint and determined it to be in the mid range (five weeks) of the IRB sanctions.

However, “he reduced the suspension by two weeks due to the player’s guilty plea, his clean record, and good conduct and remorse during the hearing”, a statement read today, before then ruling the “three-week suspension will run over a five-week term as the judicial officer chose to take into account two weeks during the period when the player would not have played.”

With the Six Nations just 10 days away, Connacht are not due back in action until February 9th when the will face Glasgow Warriors in Scotstoun. White will miss that game, as well as the visit of Edinburgh to the Sportsground a week later and the trip to Zebre on February 23rd.

Both White and ERC have the right to appeal the decision.

His sanction is in stark contrast to the one received by Ospreys and Wales lock Ian Evans, who was suspended for 13 weeks in total after referee Roman Poite sent him off against Leinster on Friday following “at least two stamps” that connected with Mike McCarthy’s head and “resulted in a serious facial wound”.

The independent judicial officer Jeremy Summers (England) upheld the red card and then “determined that the offence was at the top end of the IRB sanctions ... and selected 16 weeks as the appropriate entry point.”

“As there were no aggravating factors, he reduced the suspension by four weeks due to the player’s guilty plea, good conduct and remorse during the hearing,”an ERC statement explained today. “The period of suspension runs over 13 weeks as the judicial officer chose to take into account one week during the Six Nations period when the player would not have played. Evans is therefore free to play on April 21st, 2014.

He, too, has the right to appeal.

Marmion is free to play for the Ireland Wolfhounds against the England Saxons at Kingsholm on Saturday (5.00pm) after he escaped suspension.

The scrumhalf was cited for striking Saracens replacement Neil De Kock, in contravention of Law 10.4 (a). His case was also heard this morning and although the citing was upheld, the incident was deemed not to have warranted a red card.

Edinburgh lock Cornell Du Preez earned a similar reprieve after he was cited under the same law for leading with the head when trying to clear Munster secondrow Paul O’Connell out of a ruck on Sunday.

The South African was yellow carded and, though the citing was again upheld, this time by independent judicial officer Jeremy Summers, it was decided today that the original punishment was sufficient.

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