Harlequins hooker Dave Ward escapes citing for spitting at Twickenham

Ward appeared to spit in the direction of Thomas Young before stepping on the prone Welsh flanker’s ankle in victory over Wasps

Dave Ward and Matt Symons of Harlequins celebrate victory over Wasps at Twickenham on December 29th. Photograph:   Steve Bardens/Getty Images

Dave Ward and Matt Symons of Harlequins celebrate victory over Wasps at Twickenham on December 29th. Photograph: Steve Bardens/Getty Images

 

Harlequins hooker Dave Ward has escaped a citing for spitting and the other acts of foul play alleged at Twickenham on Saturday, but must serve a one-match ban imposed by his club.

Ward appeared to spit in the direction of Thomas Young before then stepping on the prone Welsh flanker’s ankle in the 11th minute of the 20-13 Gallagher Premiership victory over Wasps.

The 33-year-old has apologised for the stamp – which was punished by a yellow card – but denies spitting at any player. Earlier in the game Ward also appeared to perform a neck roll on Young.

“I apologise unreservedly to Thomas Young, Wasps and everyone at Harlequins for my yellow card,” Ward said. “I would also like to make clear that I did not spit on another player during the match yesterday.

“Regardless of what the television footage looks like I know that I have never spat on a player in all my career, and will never do so.”

While it is understood that citing officer Buster White felt there was insufficient evidence to lodge a complaint having reviewed the video evidence and spoken to the clubs, Quins decided to enforce their own sanction. The one-week suspension means Ward will miss Saturday’s Premiership trip to Newcastle.

In a statement Quins said they are “satisfied there is no case to answer” in reference to the spitting incident.

“We do not coach, condone or accept foul play, and on behalf of the team and the club, I apologise to Thomas Young, Dai Young and Wasps for this incident,” boss Paul Gustard said. “It was an unnecessary and regrettable incident in what was a tightly contested match at Twickenham.”

Infuriated

Wasps boss Dai Young declined to comment on the spitting incident, but was infuriated by the stamp on his son.

“Obviously we’ve seen the stamp on the ankle and there’s no need for that rubbish in the game. It was rubbish because the game is hard enough without all that nonsense. It was plain to see him walk over and stamp on his ankle. What is the point in that? I’m sorry but I just think that’s rubbish.”

Meanwhile, Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond will only be investigated by the Rugby Football Union for his angry exchange with a member of the media if a complaint is made.

Diamond asked to speak to the journalist “outside” in the aftermath of the Sharks’ victory at Gloucester on Saturday, and is alleged to have grabbed his dictaphone before the pair engaged in a heated verbal spat.

Any charge against Diamond – a regular before the rugby judiciary – would be brought under the banner of bringing the game into disrepute.

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