Following last weekend’s European action props Joe Marler of Harlequins and Simon McIntyre of Wasps were both cited for similar offences under Law 10.4 (c) Kicking an opponent. After appearing in front of a Disciplinary Committee both players received 2 week bans. But how were the decisions reached? Here’s the On Top Of The Moon assessment of what would have been considered.
Firstly the Disciplinary Committee agreed with the match citing commissioners that an act of foul play had been committed and warranted a red card. They would then have assessed the Players’ on-field conduct to arrive at an entry point which would set the initial length of the ban to be imposed (click for larger version):
Next the Committee would consider if there were any off-field aggravating factors that should extend the ban (click for larger version):
It’s worth noting that where Disciplinary Committees are required to consider the Player’s status generally as an offender of the Laws of the Game this includes the Player’s disciplinary record in all competitions and all sports during his playing career from the age of 18. In cases where the Player has previously been sanctioned for foul play of misconduct the Disciplinary Committee may take account of such offending as an aggravating factor when setting the period of suspension. In Marler’s case the Committee not only chose not to take this option but also removed it from their consideration of mitigating factors as well, ignoring this very recent example of his lack of a clean disciplinary record on the basis it was “of an entirely different nature”.
Furthermore where the Committee feels there are mitigating factors the guidance in World Rugby’s regulations is that a 50% reduction is the maximum to be applied and this can be any amount between 0% and this 50% limit. It is somewhat surprising, given the complete contrast between their respective disciplinary records, that both Marler and McIntyre received identical reductions in their bans.