Mihai Macovei (Romania) appealed against the sanction of six weeks imposed by judicial officer Simon Thomas (Wales) following his citing for striking Canadian opponent Nanyak Dala in the face during their match played on 22 November, 2014.
At the initial hearing before the judicial officer on 25 and 26 November, Macovei admitted the breach of Law 10.4 (a). The judicial officer determined that the offence was at the top-end which carries an eight-week entry point under the World Rugby sanction table. The judicial officer reduced this by two weeks due to Macovei's admission, acceptance and apology. Macovei's appeal was against the categorisation of his offending as top-end by the judicial officer, arguing it should instead have been mid-range, with an entry point of five weeks.
Appeal officer Sheriff Kathrine Mackie (Scotland) heard Macovei's appeal on 3 December, 2014. Having considered all of the evidence and the arguments advanced on behalf of Macovei, Sheriff Mackie was not convinced that judicial officer Thomas had been in error in his categorisation of this as top-end offending and arriving at the sanction of six weeks.
Accordingly, Sheriff Mackie dismissed Macovei's appeal. Macovei remains suspended for his next six weeks of competition in the French ProD2 and is free to play again on 26 January, 2015.
Canada’s Ray Barkwill was suspended for nine weeks for making contact with an opponent’s eye area during the same match against Romania in Bucharest.
Following the match, Barkwill had been cited for the offence, which was contrary to Law 10.4 (m), and the case was heard by independent judicial officer Roger Morris of Wales.
Having heard all the evidence, Morris upheld the citing complaint and considered the incident to be a low-end breach of the relevant law, which carries an entry-point ban of 12 weeks. Considering aggravating and mitigating factors, including the player's previously clean disciplinary record, Morris imposed the ban of nine weeks, during which time the player is suspended from playing at all levels of the game during that time. He has the right to appeal the decision.
Following the same game, Canada player Jamie Cudmore was also cited for an alleged act of foul play contrary to Law 10.4 (a). He was accused of making contact with an opponent's head with an open hand. Having reviewed all of the evidence, Thomas considered the incident to amount to a low-end breach of the relevant Law, which carries an entry point of two weeks.
Thomas determined that there were no aggravating factors and considerable mitigating factors, including the player's acceptance of the act of foul play. He determined that in light of the level and type of offending, any sanction would be disproportionate. Accordingly Cudmore is free to play immediately.
Full written judgements will be published in due course.