The horror tackle that resulted in lengthy ban for Wallaby
By Rugby Onslaught

The horror tackle that resulted in lengthy ban for Wallaby

After picking up his second red card in as many Heineken Champions Cup matches, Stade Francais and Australia hooker Tolu Latu has been banned for eleven weeks following a hearing today.

Latu was shown red by referee Luke Pearce for taking out Racing 92’s Baptiste Chouzenoux in the air on 67 minutes of the Parisian derby on Saturday in the Champions Cup last 16. Pearce was in no doubt that it was a red, and people disagreeing with him are very few and far between.

This was the decision following an EPCR hearing: “The Stade Francais Paris replacement hooker, Tolu Latu, has been suspended for 11 weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing by video conference today (Tuesday, 12 April) arising from his club’s Heineken Champions Cup, Round of 16 1st leg match against Racing 92 at Stade Jean Bouin.

“Latu was sent off by the referee, Luke Pearce (England), in the 67th minute of the match for making contact with the Racing 92 second row, Baptiste Chouzenoux, in the air in a dangerous manner in contravention of Law 9.17.

“Law 9.17 A player must not tackle, charge, pull, push or grasp an opponent whose feet are off the ground
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.17 carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 4 weeks; Mid-range: 8 weeks; Top end: 12 to 52 weeks.

“The independent Disciplinary Committee comprising Jennifer Donovan (Ireland), chair, Mitchell Read (England) and Tony Wheat (Ireland), considered video imagery of the incident and heard evidence and submissions from the player, who accepted the red card decision, from the Stade Francais Paris Director General, Thomas Lombard, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.

“The committee upheld the red decision, finding that Latu had committed an intentional act of foul play that warranted a red card. It then determined that the offending was at the top end of World Rugby’s sanctions and 12 weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point.

“The committee decided to reduce the sanction by two weeks given the player’s guilty plea and apology, and it also decided to add one week to the sanction due to the player’s poor disciplinary record before imposing an 11-week suspension.

“The exact date when Latu will be free to play will be determined once his playing schedule can be clarified. Both he and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.”