Portugal’s Vincent Pinto attended an independent Disciplinary Committee hearing for an offence contrary to Law 9.11 (“Players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others…”) as a result of a review by the Foul Play Review Official in Portugal’s Rugby World Cup 2023 Pool C match against Wales on 16 September.

The independent Disciplinary Committee was chaired by Jean-Noël Couraud (France), joined by former international player Leon Lloyd (England) and former international coach Frank Hadden (Scotland).

The player denied that he had committed an act of foul play and therefore challenged the Foul Play Review Official’s decision that the act warranted a red card.  

Having considered all the available evidence, including the application of World Rugby’s Head Contact Process,the submissions by the player and his representative, and all available camera angles and technology, the independent Committee determined that:

  1. A reckless act of foul play had occurred;
  2. The player’s actions involved poor decision-making and a lack of care for the opponent player which placed the opponent player in a dangerous position;
  3. Head contact had occurred and the degree of danger was high;
  4. There were no mitigating factors present to bring the sanction down from a red card
A video explaining the World Rugby disciplinary process and how it is applied.

On that basis and in considering the sanction, the independent Committee applied World Rugby’s mandatory minimum mid-range entry point for foul play resulting in head contact (six matches). Taking all considerations into account, including the player’s remorse and excellent disciplinary record, the independent Committee determined a maximum mitigation of 50 per cent, resulting in a final sanction of three matches to be applied as follows:

  • Georgia v Portugal – 23 September
  • Australia v Portugal – 1 October
  • Fiji v Portugal – 8 October

(The player will be free to play in the third match subject to successful completion of the Coaching Intervention Programme)*

*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 subject to successful completion. 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.

Watch the video that explains how rugby’s disciplinary process works and visit World Rugby’s dedicated disciplinary process education and information page here.