The Perpignan player Armand Batlle has been suspended for four weeks, following a disciplinary hearing in Dublin.
The hearing was a result of the citing complaint made against him arising from the European Challenge Cup Round Five match against Newport Gwent Dragons last Saturday, January 14.
The complaint was made by Citing Commissioner, Alberto Recaldini (Italy), and was for an alleged dangerous tackle on the Newport Gwent Dragons flyhalf, Matthew Jones, in contravention of Law 10.4(j) during the second half of the match at Stade Aimé Giral.
The judicial officer, Simon Thomas (Wales), heard evidence and submissions from Batlle, who accepted that he had committed a dangerous tackle, and Pierre Becque of Perpignan. The judicial officer also heard evidence and submissions from Battle's legal representative, John O'Donnell SC, and ERC Disciplinary Officer, Roger O'Connor who both attended the hearing in person.
Employing the IRB recommended sanctions for Law 10.4(j), the judicial officer decided that the offence was at the mid-range entry point of six weeks. In reference to the IRB's directive on this pattern of offending (i.e. tip tackles), he added two weeks to the period as a deterrent. Then having taken into account the player's excellent record, remorse and exemplary conduct during the hearing, he granted the player the maximum mitigation of four weeks before imposing a suspension of four weeks.
Batlle will be free to play again on Monday, February 13.
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.
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