Munster loose forward Arno Botha has been suspended for three weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in London on Wednesday. The Munster forward was sent off during his team’s 10-3 win over Saracens in the Champions Cup last Saturday.
Botha was barely on the pitch for 10 minutes, having come off the bench for man of the match CJ Stander before he was shown a straight red card in 81st minute after referee Romain Poite gave him his marching orders for striking the Saracens replacement, Nick Tompkins with his arm in contravention of Law 9.12.
Law 9.12 Striking with the arm
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.12 relating to striking with the arm carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 6 weeks; Top end: 10 to 52 weeks.
Dan White (England), Chair, Frank Hadden (Scotland) and Marcello d’Orey (Portugal) considered imagery of the incident and heard evidence and submissions by video conference from Botha, who accepted the red card decision, from Munster Rugby’s legal representative, Pat Barriscale, from the Munster Rugby Team Manager, Niall O’Donovan, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.
The Committee upheld the red card decision finding that the act of foul play was reckless. As contact to the head or neck carries a minimum mandatory mid-range sanction, according to World Rugby’s regulations, six weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point.
There were no aggravating factors, and taking into account the player’s guilty plea and timely expression of remorse, the Committee reduced the sanction by the maximum of 50 percent before imposing a three-week suspension.
Botha is free to play on Monday, December 30, and both he and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.
Meanwhile, Dan Evans (Ospreys) has been suspended for four weeks.