WP NEL has been handed a three-week suspension after an independent disciplinary committee found him guilty of striking the head of opposite number Téo Bordenave with his shoulder in the 42nd minute of last Friday’s European Challenge Cup pool match between Edinburgh and Pau, in contravention of Law 9.12.
That sanction will be reduced to two weeks if he completes a ‘World Rugby Coaching Intervention’, which would allow him to return to action on 25th April.
The disciplinary committee comprising Simon Thomas (Wales), chair, Donal Courtney (Ireland) and Martyn Wood (England), heard submissions from Nel, who accepted the charge, from the player’s legal representative Bruce Caldow, from the Edinburgh Rugby Team Manager Matt Cornwell, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer Liam McTiernan, before upholding the citing complaint.
The offence was deemed to be at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and six weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point. On the basis that the player accepted that he had committed an act of foul play and had a clear disciplinary record, it was decided to grant the full 50 percent mitigation and the committee therefore reduced the sanction by three weeks, meaning that he is out until the 2nd of May if he does not complete the “World Rugby Coaching Intervention’.
Nel will now definitely miss Saturday’s European Challenge Cup round of 16 clash against Bath at the DAM Health Stadium, and the following weekend’s home game against Zebre in the United Rugby Championship. With Luan de Bruin doubtful following a knee injury against Pau, Lee-Roy Atalifo is now likely to wear the No 3 jersey against Bath, while Angus Williams is the next cab off the rank after that.