Calum Green of Newcastle Falcons appeared before a reconvened independent disciplinary panel last night.
The Falcons' second rower was cited by independent citing commissioner Andy Blyth following the match between Newcastle Falcons and Sale Sharks on Saturday 23rd March. This was for allegedly biting an opponent in the 22nd minute of the first half of the Gallagher Premiership match at St James’ Park contrary to Law 9.12 – a player must not physically abuse anyone including biting.
Green contested the charge and, after hearing detailed evidence from an independent expert in 0ral pathology & forensic odontology, the citing was dismissed by the independent panel comprising Ian Unsworth QC (chair) with John Greenwood and Tony Wheat. Green is free to play again immediately.
Panel chair Ian Unsworth QC said: “Allegations of biting are infrequently made but must be treated properly and taken seriously. This was an entirely proper citing and the RFU were duty bound to proceed with it.
"The panel considered this case and the detailed evidence provided by the RFU, Newcastle Falcons and Sale Sharks carefully.
"The panel accepted that Rob Webber genuinely and honestly believed that he had been bitten. However, he did not see it due to the respective player’s body positions nor was there any other eye witness to it. While the video evidence undoubtedly showed that Calum Green’s mouth area was either in contact with or close proximity to Rob Webber’s forearm, it was accepted by all that the footage did not show an actual bite take place. The independent expert witness requested by the panel was of the unequivocal view that an injury seen on Mr Webber’s forearm was positively not a bite mark. Furthermore, the expert was of the view that there was no evidence of any mark which would be consistent with a bite mark.
"In those circumstances the panel was duty bound to accept that there was insufficient evidence to uphold the citing.
"The case was therefore dismissed and Calum Green was entitled to leave the hearing without a stain on his character. Nothing in the panel’s decision should be interpreted as casting any doubt on the credibility and honesty of Rob Webber. He impressed us as a witness but given the clarity of the medical evidence we were unable to properly conclude that he had been bitten.”