Romania back row Vlad Neculau 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 Romania’s international match against Italy on 1 July, 2022.

The committee, chaired by Rhian Williams (Wales), joined by former international referee Donal Courtney (Ireland) and former international player Yannick Jauzion (France), heard the case, considering all the available evidence, including multiple broadcast angles, referee and Television Match Official reports, a submission from the Italian team and submissions from the player and his representative.

The player admitted that he had committed an act of foul play but did not accept that it warranted a red card.

At the request of the player, the committee considered whether or not the charge should be altered from Law 9.13 (dangerous tackle) to Law 9.14 (a player must not tackle an opponent who is not in possession of the ball).

Having reviewed all the evidence, the Committee noted that:

  • In line with its powers under Regulation 17 the charge would be altered to an offence contrary to Law 9.14.
  • The player had made contact with the victim player’s neck and/or throat area.
  • Pursuant to the World Rugby Sanctions for Foul Play, any act of foul play which results in contact with the head and/or the neck shall result in at least a mid-range sanction unless such sanction would be wholly disproportionate to the offending player’s fault and the consequences thereof.

The committee decided that World Rugby’s mandatory minimum mid-range entry point for foul play should be applied which resulted in a starting point of a six-week suspension.

Having considered both mitigating and aggravating factors including the Player’s conduct, the remorse shown by the player to the victim player and the player’s previous disciplinary record (which included previous offences), the committee reduced the six-week entry point by two weeks, resulting in a sanction of four weeks. The matches which the player will miss will be assessed by the committee on the provision of further information.

The player has the right of appeal within 48 hours of the issuing of the full written decision, which will be appear here once published. 

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.

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