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Samoan speared for six weeks

Tue, 12 Nov 2013 20:25
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Samoa centre George Pisi is set to miss the remainder of his country's matches in November after he was handed a six week ban for a tip tackle on Ireland wing Tommy Bowe during last Saturday's 40-9 hammering by the Irish at Lansdowne Road.

The 27-year-old - who plays for English side Northampton - managed to convince the three-man disciplinary panel in London that it was not a dangerous tackle as cited, but a tip tackle which carries a lesser ban.

Pisi, however, failed to persuade the panel that it wasn't a red card offence - he only received a yellow from referee Steve Walsh.

On that basis the committee decided their punishment warranted a mid-range entry point of an eight-week suspension.

That was then increased by two weeks as a deterrent with regard to tip tackles, before four weeks were taken off after various mitigating factors were taken into account.

Pisi, who has the right of appeal, cannot play again until December 23 which rules him out not only of club matches in December but also Samoa's game with the French Barbarians on Saturday and the game with Georgia the following weekend.

Pisi appeared before a disciplinary committee comprising Roger Morris (Chairman, Wales), Simon Thomas (Wales) and Antony Davies (England).

He was cited for a dangerous tackle under law 10.4(e). The player argued that the incident should be more appropriately considered as a 'tip tackle' under law 10.4(j). The disciplinary committee agreed and amended the complaint accordingly, and the player pleaded guilty to the amended complaint.

"In light of the player's guilty plea, the citing was upheld," the committee said in a statement.

"However, the player argued that the offending had not warranted a red card. The disciplinary committee considered the available evidence including the footage of the incident, and listened to the representations made by and on behalf of the player.

"It determined that the offending had warranted a red card and that the appropriate entry point sanction was mid-range (an eight-week suspension). The suspension was then increased by two weeks to take account of the need for a deterrent in respect of 'tip tackles' and then reduced by four weeks (the maximum permissible reduction) to take account of the various mitigating factors.

"Accordingly, the player is suspended for a period of six weeks and will be free to play again on Monday, December 23."

* Meanwhile Japanese No.8 Ryu Koliniasi Holani was cleared to play by another disciplinary committee.

Holani appeared before a disciplinary committee, having been cited for an alleged incident of foul play (dangerous tackle, contrary to Law 10.4 (e) ), arising from the match between Scotland and Japan last Saturday, November 9.
 
The committee, chaired by Simon Thomas (Wales) alongside Roger Morris (Wales) and Antony Davies (England), upheld the citing in that an act of foul play had been committed, but found that the act did not merit classification as a red card offence and imposed no sanction. Ryu Koliniasi Holani is free to resume playing immediately.
 
* Law 10.4(e): A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously.
* Law 10.4(j): Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player's feet are still off the ground such that the player's head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play.

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