One week for 'petulant' O'Gara
Fri, 18 Jan 2013 13:43
Munster flyhalf, Ronan O'Gara has been suspended for one week for kicking Edinburgh lock Sean Cox at Murrayfield.
O'Gara was alleged to have contravened Law 10.4(c) of the IRB's laws of the game during the second half of the match.
Law 10.4(c) reads: Kicking. A player must not kick an opponent.
Under the IRB's sanctioning regime for foul play the entry points for a breach of Law 10.4(c) where a player kicks an opponent are the following periods of suspension (in each case the suspension is a blanket ban from playing rugby union anywhere in the world): four weeks (lower end), eight weeks (mid range) and 12 weeks up to 52 weeks (top end).
The independent Judicial Officer, Jeff Blackett, heard evidence and submissions from O'Gara, who pleaded guilty to the offence, from the Munster Chief Executive, Garrett Fitzgerald, and from the Munster team manager, Niall O'Donovan. He also heard submissions from the ERC Disciplinary Officer, Roger O'Connor.
The Judicial Officer upheld the complaint and found that O'Gara had committed a petulant act which was out of character. He determined that the act was in the lower end (four weeks) of the IRB’s sanctioning regime and taking into account the player's guilty plea and his good disciplinary record, the Judicial Officer reduced the suspension by 50 per cent.
Blackett then determined that a two-week suspension would be wholly disproportionate to the level of offending as O'Gara had been body-checked by Sean Cox prior to the incident. He also accepted that O'Gara had intended to trip rather than to kick Cox.
As there were no aggravating factors, he imposed a suspension of one week which means that the flyhalf will miss this weekend's European Cup clash with Racing Metro.
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