Japan number eight, Michael Leitch, appeared before an independent judicial committee on Wednesday, 26 July, having received a red card for an offence contrary to Law 9.11 (a player must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others) during the international test match between Japan and Samoa on Saturday, 22 July. 

The independent Disciplinary Committee was chaired by Nigel Hampton KC (New Zealand), joined by former player Ofisa Tonu’u (New Zealand) and former international referee Donal Courtney (Ireland).

The player accepted that foul play occurred and that the offending warranted a red card. The Committee noted that the offence carries a mandatory mid-range sanction (six matches), and having considered the mitigating factors reduced the sanction by the maximum mitigation of 50 per cent. The final sanction of three matches is to be applied as follows:

  • Japan v Tonga, 29 July, 2023
  • Japan v Fiji, 5 August, 2023
  • Italy v Japan, 26 August, 2023* 

*The player intends to apply to take part in the World Rugby Coaching Intervention Programme to substitute the final match of the 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, which will 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.