Ulster’s Jared Payne suspended for two weeks

Ulster fullback Jared Payne has been suspended for two weeks following his controversial tackle on Saracens’ counterpart Alex Goode in their Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday.

Ulster played most of the match a man down after Payne was sent off by French referee Jerome Garces in the fifth minute at Ravenhill in Belfast when he took Goode out while he was in the air reaching for a high ball.

Payne was red cared for the tackle which Garces ruled was in contravention of Law 10.4(i) – Law 10.4(i) Tackling, tapping, pushing or pulling an opponent jumping for the ball in open play

Under the IRB Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 10.4(i) carries the following sanction entry points: Low End: 3 weeks; Mid-Range: 6 weeks; Top End: 12 to 52 weeks.

The independent Judicial Officer, Simon Thomas (Wales), heard evidence and submissions from Payne, Ulster Rugby Director of Rugby, David Humphreys, and Team Manager, David Millar, as well as from ERC Disciplinary Officer, Roger O’Connor.

In upholding the red card decision, the Judicial Officer determined that Payne had committed a reckless act and concluded that the offence was at the low end of the IRB sanctions for offences of this nature and selected three (3) weeks as the appropriate entry point.

As there were no aggravating factors, and taking into account the player’s clean disciplinary record and his exemplary conduct at the hearing, the Judicial Officer reduced the sanction by the maximum of one (1) week and imposed a suspension of two (2) weeks.

He commented that the case had been a particularly challenging one and conveyed his thanks to the Ulster Rugby representatives for the quality of their defence during the hearing.

Payne is free to play on Monday, 21 April.

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