TOKYO, 10 October - Canada replacement Josh Larsen received a red card for an act of foul play contrary to Law 9.20 (dangerous play in a ruck or maul) in Canada’s Rugby World Cup 2019 match against South Africa on 8 October.

Larsen attended a disciplinary hearing in Tokyo on 10 October before an independent Judicial Committee chaired by Wang Shao Ing (Singapore lawyer and former international player) joined by former referees Donal Courtney (Ireland) and Valeriu Toma (Romania). 

Larsen admitted the act of foul play, that he had contacted his opponent’s head and neck and accepted that it warranted a red card.

The committee considered that the terms of High Tackle Sanction Framework were relevant and accepted the player’s admission that:

  • There was a shoulder charge
  • There was direct contact of the player’s left shoulder to his opponent’s head and neck
  • There are no mitigating factors

The committee upheld the red card and applied World Rugby’s mandatory minimum mid-range entry point, which was introduced in 2017 to protect player welfare, deter high contact and prevent head injuries. This resulted in a starting point of a six-week suspension.

Taking into account the mitigating factors that are considered in relation to sanction, including the player’s clean disciplinary record, the committee reduced the six-week entry point by three weeks, resulting in a sanction of three weeks.

Larsen will miss Canada’s final pool match at Rugby World Cup 2019 (against Namibia on 13 October) and his first two matches for his new club New England Free Jacks in the 2020 Major League Rugby season. Therefore the player is free to play again on 16 February, 2020.

The short form decision is here and the full written decision can be read here when available.