After a hearing this morning the ERC Disciplinary Committee have handed John Afoa a four week ban.
Afoa was alleged to have carried out a dangerous tackle on the Munster full back Felix Jones (No 15) during the second half of the match at Thomond Park. The complaint was made by Citing Commissioner, Peter Larter (England).
The independent Judicial Officer, Jean-Nöel Couraud (France), heard evidence and submissions from Afoa who pleaded not guilty to foul play.
The player was accompanied by Ulster Rugby, Director of Rugby David Humphreys, Team Manager David Millar and legal representative Donal Spring. The Judicial Officer also heard evidence and submissions from ERC Disciplinary Officer, Roger O’Connor.
The Judicial Officer upheld the citing complaint and found that the offence warranted a red card, and employing the IRB recommended sanctions for Law 10.4(j), he determined that the offence was at the mid-range entry point of six (6) weeks. In reference to the IRB’s directive on this pattern of offending (tip tackles), he then added a further one (1) week as a deterrent.
Having then considered the mitigating factors, including the player’s clean record, good character, age and experience, the Judicial Officer allowed a reduction of three (3) weeks, before imposing a suspension of four (4) weeks.
Afoa will be free to play on Monday, 7 May . Both the player and ERC have the right to appeal the decision.
Law 10.4 (j) Lifting a player from the ground and either dropping or driving that player’s head and/or upper body into the ground whilst the player’s feet are off the ground.
Under the IRB Recommended Sanctions for Offences Committed within the Playing Enclosure, Law 10.4 (j) carries the following penalties: Low End: 3 weeks; Mid Range: 6 weeks; Top End: 10+ to 52 weeks.