Australia prop Sekope Kepu received a three-week suspension from an independent World Rugby-appointed Disciplinary Committee for a dangerous charge in the November window international match between Scotland and Australia on 25 November, 2017.
Kepu accepted the three-week sanction, but appealed the decision not to include matches to be played as part of the Brisbane Tens tournament (9-10 February, 2018) when determining how the three-week sanction would be imposed.
The appeal was heard by an independent Appeal Committee which comprised Christopher Quinlan QC (World Rugby Judicial Panel Chairman), Judge Lex Mpati (SANZAAR Judicial Chairman) and Oliver Kohn (ex-Bristol, Harlequins RFC and Wales).
The Appeal Committee considered the merits of including particular matches in a sanction. It noted that because it is impossible to cater for every factual eventuality within the disciplinary regulations, judicial committees must “examine the circumstances of individual cases in assessing the playing consequences of a sanction”.
In this case, the consideration included the player’s previous history of not having played tens rugby for many years, the nature and standard of the Brisbane Tens tournament (BTT), and the extent of the player’s intended participation in the tournament. The Committee ultimately decided that matches in the BTT should not count as part of the playing suspension of three weeks and dismissed the appeal.
Kepu is free to play again on 5 March, 2018.
The full written decision is available here.
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