EDINBURGH No 8 Nick Haining has been given a two-week suspension – shorter than had been expected – following a disciplinary hearing in London. The Australian forward was found to have committed an act of foul play in a ruck in last week’s Challenge Cup match against Agen, whereas the original citation had mentioned use of the head, an offence which carries more serious sanctions.
The three-person disciplinary panel upheld the complaint by the citing commissioner and decided that Haining’s action against Agen’s Thomas Vincent warranted a red card. They opted for a four-week entry point for the offence, but cut that in half because of the player’s admission of guilt and his previously good disciplinary record. Edinburgh will not appeal against the two-week ban, which rules the player out of Friday’s match against Bordeaux and the following week’s PRO14 game at Munster.
Announcing the ban, a statement from European Professional Club Rugby read:
“The Edinburgh Rugby No 8, Nick Haining, has been suspended for two weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in London today (Wednesday, 20 November) arising from his club’s Challenge Cup, Round 1 match against Agen at Stade Armandie. Haining was cited by the match Citing Commissioner, John Byett (England), and it was put to him at the hearing that he had committed an act of foul play in a ruck by making contact with the Agen fly half, Thomas Vincent (No 10), in a dangerous manner in the 33rd minute of the match in contravention of Law 9.20.
“Law 9.20 Dangerous play in a ruck
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.20 relating to making contact with an opponent above the line of the shoulders at a ruck carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 4 weeks; Top end: 8 to 52 weeks.
“An independent Disciplinary Committee consisting of Simon Thomas (Wales), Chairman, Mitchell Read (England) and Donal Courtney (Ireland), heard evidence and submissions from Haining, who pleaded guilty to dangerous play, from Edinburgh Rugby’s legal representative, Graham Horsman, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.
“The Committee upheld the citing complaint as Haining had committed an act of foul play that warranted a red card. It found that the offence was at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and four weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point. There were no aggravating factors, and due to the player’s guilty plea and clear disciplinary record, the Committee decided to reduce the sanction by the maximum of 50% before imposing a two-week suspension.
“Haining is free to play on Monday, 2 December 2019, and both he and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.”
Edinburgh and Haining had expected a ban of three to four weeks, on the grounds that a contravention of Law 9.12 – under which the original charge was made – has graver sanctions than a contravention of Law 9.20.