Two-match ban for Callum Gibbins

Suspension for dangerous play rules Glasgow forward out of Sale and Zebre games

Callum Gibbins - Glasgow captain. Glasgow Warriors v La Rochelle, European Champions Cup, Glasgow, Scotland, Saturday 14th December 2019.
Callum Gibbins in action for Glasgow against La Rochelle last month. Image: Fotosport/David Gibson.

GLASGOW captain Callum Gibbins will miss Saturday’s Champions Cup match against Sale Sharks and next month’s PRO14 game at home to Zebre after being given a two-week suspension by a disciplinary committee. The committee ruled that the New Zealander had been guilty of an act of dangerous play against Exeter last week which merited a red card rather than the yellow he had been given by referee Roman Poite. 

The Warriors have three fallow weeks after the Sale game, but the committee stipulated that the ban for two weeks meant the weeks in which they actually have matches. Gibbins had accepted that he had committed an act of foul play against the Chiefs’ Jacques Vermeulen in the first half of the draw at Scotstoun, but argued that it did not merit a red card. While rejecting that argument and deciding that his offence was a mid-range one with a starting point of a four-week suspension, the committee downgraded the ban to two weeks because of mitigating factors. Gibbins will be free to play from Monday 17 February, with the first match for which he can return being the home league game against Dragons on Saturday 22nd.

“The Glasgow Warriors flanker, Callum Gibbins, has been suspended for two weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in London today (Wednesday, 15 January) arising from his club’s Heineken Champions Cup, Round 5 match against the Exeter Chiefs at Scotstoun,” a statement from Champions Cup organisers EPCR said. “Gibbins was alleged to have committed an act of foul play in that he struck the Exeter Chiefs flanker, Jacques Vermeulen (No 7), with his shoulder in a dangerous manner in the 25th minute of the match in contravention of Law 9.12. The complaint was made by the match Citing Commissioner, Eugene Ryan (Ireland).

“An independent Disciplinary Committee consisting of Philippe Cavalieros (France), Chair, Donal Courtney (Ireland) and Antony Wheat (England), considered video imagery of the incident and heard submissions from Gibbins, who accepted that he had committed an act of foul play, but who did not accept that the offence warranted a red card.

“Submissions and evidence were also heard from the Glasgow Warriors Head Coach, Dave Rennie, from the Glasgow Warriors Team Manager, Kenny Brown, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.

“The Committee decided that the charge should be altered to Dangerous play in a ruck under Law 9.20 which includes the offence of making contact with an opponent above the line of the shoulders. Law 9.20 Dangerous play in a ruck: Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.20 relating to a player making contact with an opponent above the line of the shoulders carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 4 weeks; Top end: 8 to 52 weeks.

“The Committee upheld the citing complaint, finding that Gibbins had made contact with Vermeulen’s head in a dangerous manner that had warranted a red card. It then determined that the offence was at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and selected four weeks as the appropriate entry point.

“Taking into account the player’s clear disciplinary record and timely expression of remorse, the Committee reduced the sanction by the maximum of 50 per cent before imposing a two-week suspension. As a one-week suspension ordinarily results in a player missing one match, and as Glasgow Warriors’ next fixtures are scheduled for Saturday (18 January) and 14 February, Gibbins is free to play on Monday, 17 February. Both the player and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.”

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About Stuart Bathgate 1414 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.