Zander Fagerson is still banned for four matches …. maybe

Zander Fagerson was red-carded against Wales in round two of this year's Six Nations. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Zander Fagerson was red-carded against Wales in round two of this year's Six Nations. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

THE sorry saga of Zander Fagerson’s suspension continues, with the Six Nations appeals panel which spent two days considering his case upholding the findings of the initial disciplinary panel that he had committed a red-card offence and should be suspended for four weeks, but ruling that the panel “had not given appropriate weight to the evidence before it about the matches to be covered by the period of suspension”.

The initial panel stated that Fagerson was “suspended for four weeks and, given his playing schedule, he will miss the three Scotland matches in the Guinness Six Nations Championship against France (28th February), Ireland (14th March) and Italy (20th March), and one further match to be determined.”

However, the appeal panel has stated that Glasgow Warriors’ two matches against Ulster (19th February) and Zebre (6th March) on the Six Nations’ fallow weekends should count towards the ban, which should free him go play against Italy.


Full house of negative Covid results for France squad

Kelly Brown to leave Warriors at end of the month

Nick Haining signs Edinburgh contract extension


So far, so clear. However, news earlier today that Scotland’s game against France has now been postponed has confused matters. Can Fagerson now claim that he would have been released back to Glasgow Warriors to play against Leinster this weekend, so that should be counted towards his ban? Or will the Italy game now come back into play?

“Due to the postponement of the France v Scotland match, the Appeal Committee will have the opportunity to review Mr Fagerson’s playing schedule and consider the consequences of the postponement,” said a statement from Six Nations, which seems to mean we are back to a waiting game.

To further confuse the issue, much of the backlash against Fagerson’s initial four-match suspension was in relation to Ireland flanker Peter O’Mahony only getting a three-match ban after being sent off for the same offence the previous week. However, the ruling in this case stated “the player is suspended from 7th February 2021 to 14th March 2021, which represents three meaningful matches to the player”. That appears to take into account Ireland’s three matches against France (14th February), Italy (27th February) and Scotland (14th March), but not the two games he could potentially have played for Munster during the Six Nations fallow weeks (against Edinburgh on 20th February and Connacht on 5th March). It is likely that Ireland and O’Mahony will now be feeling slightly hard done by.

The statement from Six Nations said:

At a previous hearing before an independent Disciplinary Committee (which comprised two former international players) on 16 February 2021 Mr. Fagerson had accepted that he had committed an act of foul play but had not accepted that it had warranted a red card. However, the Disciplinary Committee had found that Mr Fagerson had committed an act of foul play (an infringement of both Law 9.20(a) and Law 9.20(b)) and that it had warranted a red card. The Disciplinary Committee had found that the act of foul play warranted a mid-range entry point (six weeks’ suspension) and reduced that by two weeks to take account of mitigating factors. Mr Fagerson had been suspended for four weeks and was to miss the three Scotland matches in the Guinness Six Nations Championship against France, Ireland and Italy, and one further match to be determined.

At Tuesday’s hearing, the Appeal Committee, heard submissions from Mr Fagerson and his legal counsel, Bruce Caldow, as well as from Six Nations’ legal representative. Mr Fagerson challenged a number of the Disciplinary Committee’s findings, including that he had infringed Law 9.20(a), that his act of foul play had warranted a red card, that he had made ‘direct’ contact with Wyn Jones’ head, that the mitigating factors allowed him a reduction in his suspension of just two weeks, and that the two Glasgow matches in the Guinness PRO14 (to be played on the ‘fallow weekends’ in the Guinness Six Nations Championship) should not ‘count’ towards his suspension.

The Appeal Committee were not satisfied that Mr Fagerson had established that the Disciplinary Committee had been wrong in upholding the red card, and therefore dismissed that part of the appeal.

The Appeal Committee were also not persuaded that the Disciplinary Committee had been wrong in arriving at a suspension of four weeks. However, the Appeal Committee was satisfied that the Disciplinary Committee had not given appropriate weight to the evidence before it about the matches to be covered by the period of suspension. Necessarily, decisions on matches to be covered by suspensions are fact-sensitive and player-specific. On the basis of all the evidence, the Appeal Committee was satisfied that the suspension should have covered the Glasgow matches against Ulster and Zebre, with the effect that the Mr Fagerson’s suspension currently applies to the following matches:

19 February 2021                            Ulster
28 February 2021                            France (subsequently postponed)
6 March 2021                                   Zebre
14 March 2021                                 Ireland

Due to the postponement of the France v Scotland match, the Appeal Committee will have the opportunity to review Mr Fagerson’s playing schedule and consider the consequences of the postponement.

The parties were informed of the decision during the evening of 24th February 2021.


Kelly Brown to leave Warriors at end of the month

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article

Support our coverage  of all levels of Scottish rugby.

Invest in our gameyou can make a difference by keeping Scottish rugby at all levels in the news.

David Barnes
About David Barnes 2305 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

7 Comments

  1. I’m comfortable with Fagerson getting red card…plenty of others last weekend did same and were all given red esp in English prem. That said a longer ban than POM is nothing short of perverse. Just watching Italy Ireland and Kilcoyne has done same thing, leading with forearm and elbow and it wasn’t even a penalty. Ireland are clearly being referred in a different way to the other nations. Time for the IRB to move their refs HQ away from Dublin. Plenty of other rugby fan forums from other nations can see it as well it isn’t just Scottish tinted specs.

  2. Disciplinary, being the beginning, followed by Appeal – both in the Six Nations’ stage in the case. But they link in logic.

    The first was showing international matches’ dates plus one date to be followed – the Appeal Committee recorded dates on internals and Glasgow matches. Between these two – no logic!

    Now membered are those two committees. The Disciplinary paper has three named members, included one as named are chairman. But Appeal Committee has no clearance membership. The only report is that are “two former international players”. Is one of those in fact a former international who as chairman? Or are those two aside to two the chairman?

    Please to “Six National” in international rugby. For an example, Rugby World Cup has a clear example available in autumn 2019. Closer, too, at PRO14 and English as such cases.

  3. Clearly disputing the refs decision to issue a red card outweighs previous disciplinary records with this panel. Can someone finally confirm is it 4 weeks or 4 games? Please?

    1
    1
  4. Total horsesh*t. They make a mockery of themselves, the game, and its rules. I’d make an educated guess that these two “professionals” have not played the game in years.

    6
    1
  5. George Taylor was allowed to count an A team match as part of his ban. It looks a lot like the panels are selectively counting matches as a back-door way of softening unduly harsh bans. I’d rather they just gave sensible punishments in the first place.

    11
  6. This is a joke. I’m honestly lost for words. So they’ve still not recognised the disparity between POM’s thuggery and track record and Fagerso’s relative stupidity and lack of firm on this. I don’t know was on the review panel but they need to have a word.

Comments are closed.