Wales captain Sam Warburton has received a three-week suspension after admitting committing a ‘dangerous tip tackle’ contrary to Law 10(4) (j) in the Rugby World Cup 2011 semi-final against France at Eden Park on 15 October.
Warburton was ordered off by referee Alain Rolland during the first half of the match.
Tackles involving a player being lifted off the ground and tipped horizontally and then forced or dropped to the ground are illegal and constitute dangerous play. The IRB Memorandum issued on June 8, 2009 stated that such tackles “must be dealt with severely by referees and those involved in the off-field disciplinary process.”
Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all broadcast angles and additional evidence from the Player, Warren Gatland and submissions from his legal representative Aaron Lloyd, the Independent Judicial Officer, Christopher Quinlan QC (England), determined the ordering off to be appropriate in Law and the action in line with IRB directives to Unions, Teams and Match Officials.
The Judicial Officer concluded that the offence was mid range on the scale of seriousness, which has an entry point of six weeks.
He found that there were no aggravating features and there were compelling on-field and/or off-field mitigating features including the Player’s admission, outstanding character and disciplinary record and remorse. Therefore, the suspension was reduced to a period of three weeks.
The suspension takes effect immediately and will run up to and include 6 November, 2011. He is free to resume playing on 7 November.
The player has 48 hours in which to appeal from the time he was informed of the decision.