Ospreys could face Heineken Cup expulsion

The Ospreys are being investigated by Heineken Cup officials over an alleged breach of player eligibility rules after they played Ricky Januarie for a brief spell.


This is not the first time this season that the Ospreys have been in the dock with Heineken Cup authorities as they have only recently recovered from the 16th man fiasco in the Heineken Cup for which they were fined 25,000 Euros for fielding a 16th player in their victory over Leicester Tigers.

 

The latest issue revolves around South African scrum-half Ricky Januarie who played in four Heineken Cup pool stage matches (Viadana (twice), Clermont Auvergne and Leicester Tigers) during a short-term spell with the Welsh region.

Januarie joined the Ospreys on a short-term loan deal at the end of November after they were hit by injury and lacked depth in scrum-halves.


The Ospreys announced that Januarie was joining on a three-month contract which is the minimum length of time allowed for additional players under ERC rules but he returned to South Africa after just over two months later and is now playing for the Stormers in the Super14.


Once the Ospreys had qualified for the Heineken Cup quarter finals, Januarie re-joined the Stormers on the 1st of February which means that he was only in Wales for a little more than two months, rather than three and the rules state “he must have at least a three-month contract with the club”.

 

Januarie signed for the Ospreys on the 26th of November and returned to South Africa on the 25th of January two months later.

 

When the Stormers announced Januarie’s departure, they said they had agreed a two-month loan deal but the Ospreys maintained the term was for three months even though the Stormers wanted Januarie back in Cape Town by the beginning of this month for the pre-season warm up matches.

 

Januarie played for the Stormers (pictured) in a Super14 pre-season warm up match against the Boland Cavaliers held at The Cape Town Stadium (formerly Green Point Stadium) in Cape Town, South Africa on 6 February 2010.

 

A disciplinary panel will be convened to hear the case and it would have the power to impose sanctions ranging from a fine to a points deduction or outright expulsion which would mean they would be replaced in this season’s quarter-final stages.

If they are removed from the quarter-finals, then Leicester Tigers would move to second in the group and qualify as the eighth seeds, a position currently occupied by Northampton, who would move up to seventh.


That would mean rescheduling two of the quarter-finals with Leicester going to Munster instead of Northampton who would face Biarritz.



A number of other players at other clubs are also being looked at over alleged breaches, understood to be in the Amlin Challenge Cup.

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