Gloucester Rugby flanker, Andy Hazell, has been suspended for 14 weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Amlin Challenge Cup Pool 1, Round 1 match against Mont-de-Marsan at Stade Guy Boniface on Thursday, 11 October 2012.
Hazell was shown a red card in the 55th minute of the match by referee Neil Hennessy (Wales) for striking Mont-de-Marsan replacement, Sebastien Ormaechea (No 23), in contravention of Law 10.4(a).
The independent Judicial Officer, Roger Morris (Wales), heard evidence and submissions from Hazell, who pleaded guilty to striking Ormaechea, from Gloucester Rugby Director of Rugby, Nigel Davies, and from ERC Disciplinary Officer, Roger O'Connor.
The Judicial Officer determined that Hazell had intentionally struck Ormaechea with both the fist and the knee.
Having also determined that any suspensions he would impose for the offences would run concurrently, and as striking with the knee carries greater penalties than striking with the fist under the IRB Recommended Sanctions for Offences Committed with the Playing Enclosure, the Judicial Officer decided on a top-end entry point of 16 weeks.
Taking into account aggravating factors, he added a further two (2) weeks given Hazell's disciplinary record and his failure to uphold the image of the game.
Then following consideration of Hazell's guilty plea and his exemplary conduct during the hearing, the Judicial Officer deducted four (4) weeks before imposing a suspension of 14 weeks.
Hazell will be free to play on Monday, 21 January 2013. Both ERC and the player have the right to appeal the decision.
Law 10.4(a) Striking another player with the hand, arm, fist or knee Under the IRB Recommended Sanctions for Offences Committed within the Playing Enclosure, Law 10.4(a), striking with the hand, arm or fist carries the following penalties:
Lower End: 2 weeks; Mid Range: 5 weeks; Top End: 8+ to 52 weeks.
Law 10.4(a), striking with the knee carries the following penalties: Lower End: 3 weeks; Mid Range: 8 weeks; Top End: 12+ to 52 weeks.