Ulster backrow, Matty Rea, has been handed a four week suspension by a Disciplinary Panel following his sending off during the Guinness PRO14 against Connacht.
Rea was shown a straight red 10 seconds into the seconcd half of the Irish derby clash at Kingspan Stadium by referee Andrew Brace for a breach of law 9.17 - ‘A player must not tackle, charge, pull, push or grasp an opponent whose feet are off the ground.’
During the video hearing on Wednesday, Rea accepted that he had committed an act of foul play but did not accept that it warranted a red card.
The Disciplinary Committee, comprising of Pamela Woodman (Chair), Kathrine Mackie and Ian Douglas (all Scotland), concluded that the player had committed an act of foul play, that that act of foul play warranted a red card and so the referee’s decision to issue the red card was not wrong.
The player had accepted that his opponent’s head had hit the ground as a consequence of the incident.
In determining entry point, the Committee took into account the direction from World Rugby that “any act of foul play which results in contact with the head shall result in at least a mid-range sanction” and concluded that a mid-range entry point (of eight weeks) was appropriate.
The Committee took into account that there were no aggravating factors, the player’s clean disciplinary record and other mitigating factors and applied full mitigation of 50 per cent, meaning that the player is free to play on Monday, November 5.
Rea will miss the next block of Ulster fixtures with the friendly against Uruguay on November 9 in Belfast his expected return.