An independent Disciplinary Hearing was convened yesterday (Wednesday, 16 November, 2011) as a result of the citing complaint made against Saracens player Schalk Brits (No 2) arising from the Heineken Cup Pool 5, Round 1 match against Benetton Treviso at Vicarage Road on Sunday, 13 November2011.
The complaint was made by Citing Commissioner, Jean-Etienne Bernard (France), and was for an alleged dangerous tackle on the Benetton Treviso wing, Benjamin De Jager (No 14), during the first half of the game in contravention of Law 10.4 (j).
Law 10.4 (j) – Lifting a player from the ground and either dropping or driving that player’s head and/or upper body into the ground whilst the player’s feet are off the ground.
During the hearing Brits pleaded guilty to an act of foul play and Saracens Chief Executive, Edward Griffiths, also made representations on his behalf.
The independent Judicial Officer, Rod McKenzie (Scotland), upheld the citing complaint and having considered all the evidence available, determined that the act was in the mid-range of the level of seriousness for an offence of this type, with an entry point of six weeks.
Having taken into account mitigating factors, including the player’s guilty plea, clean record and clear remorse, the Judicial Officer reduced the period of suspension by the maximum amount of 50 per cent and suspended the player for a period of three weeks. Brits will be available to play on Thursday, 8 December 2011.
Under the IRB Recommended Sanctions for Offences Committed within the Playing Enclosure, Law 10.4 (j) carries the following penalties: Low End: 3 weeks; Mid Range: 6 weeks; Top End: 10+ to 52 weeks.
Both parties, ERC and the player, have the right to appeal the decision.