USA flanker Riekert Hattingh appeared before an independent judicial committee via video link having received a red card for an act of foul play contrary to Law 9.13 (dangerous tackle) in USA’s international match against Ireland on 10 July, 2021.
The independent Disciplinary Committee chaired by Samantha Hillas QC (England), joined by former internationals Leon Lloyd (England) and Bogdan Zebega (Romania), heard the case, considering all the available evidence, including multiple broadcast angles and submissions from the player and his representative, and from the match day referee.
The player denied that he had committed an act of foul play worthy of a red card. Having reviewed all the evidence, the committee deemed as follows:
- That there had been direct contact from the player’s shoulder with the chin of the ball carrier;
- That this contact was made with force;
- The committee did not accept the submission that there was no contact with the ball carrier’s chin; and,
- That although the Ireland No.2 was off balance, and the player did bend at the knees, the player had time to adjust his body height and drop his hips and his failing to do so led to the incident.
Therefore, on the balance of probabilities, the committee did not find that the referee’s decision was wrong, and the red card was upheld.
On that basis, the committee applied World Rugby’s mandatory minimum mid-range entry point for foul play resulting in contact with the head. This resulted in a starting point of a six-week suspension.
Having acknowledged mitigating factors including the player’s clean disciplinary record, the player’s apologies to both the player and the management team, and good conduct at the hearing. the committee reduced the six-week entry point by two matches, resulting in a sanction of four weeks meaning the player will miss the following matches:
- Houston v Seattle – Major League Rugby – 15 July, 2021
- US National Sevens Tournament – Washington Athletic Club – 13-15 August, 2021
- Seattle Rugby Club v Bend – 21 August, 2021
- USA v Canada – Rugby World Cup 2023 Qualifier – 4 September, 2021
The player may apply to take part in the Coaching Intervention Programme to substitute the final match of his sanction for a coaching intervention aimed at modifying specific techniques and technical issues that contributed to the foul play. Further information can be found here.
The player has the right of appeal within 48 hours of the issuing of the full written decision. The full written decision can be read here when available.
Click here to watch the video that explains how rugby’s disciplinary process works.
Visit World Rugby’s dedicated disciplinary process education and information page here.
World Rugby is managing the communications for all matches in the July test window. Please contact email@example.com for further information.