Munster’s Arno Botha suspended for three weeks

South African was sent off by Romain Poite at the death of European win over Saracens

Arno Botha is shown a red card by Romain Poite at Thomond Park. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Arno Botha is shown a red card by Romain Poite at Thomond Park. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

 

Munster backrow Arno Botha has been suspended for three weeks following his red card during the province’s 10-3 win over European champions Saracens last weekend.

The South African forward was sent off by referee Romain Poite in the 81st minute at Thomond Park for striking Saracens’ replacement Nick Tompkins.

Botha’s three week ban will see him miss Saturday’s return fixture at Allianz Park, as well as the Christmas interprovincial clashes with Connacht in Galway (December 21st), and against Leinster in Limerick (December 28th).

A EPCR statement read: “Botha was sent off by the referee, Romain Poite (France), in the 81st minute of the match for striking the Saracens replacement, Nick Tompkins (No 23), with his arm in contravention of Law 9.12.

“Law 9.12 Striking with the arm

“Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.12 relating to striking with the arm carries the following sanction entry points - Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 6 weeks; Top end: 10 to 52 weeks.

“An independent Disciplinary Committee consisting of Dan White (England), Chair, Frank Hadden (Scotland) and Marcello d’Orey (Portugal), considered imagery of the incident, and heard evidence and submissions by video conference from Botha, who accepted the red card decision, from Munster Rugby’s legal representative, Pat Barriscale, from the Munster Rugby Team Manager, Niall O’Donovan, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.

“The Committee upheld the red card decision finding that the act of foul play was reckless. As contact to the head or neck carries a minimum mandatory mid-range sanction, according to World Rugby’s regulations, six weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point.

“There were no aggravating factors, and taking into account the player’s guilty plea and timely expression of remorse, the Committee reduced the sanction by the maximum of 50% before imposing a three-week suspension.

“Botha is free to play on Monday, 30 December 2019, and both he and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.”

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