England lock Courtney Lawes has been given a two game suspension following the accusation that he hit Argentina hooker Mario Ledesma with his knee during Saturday’s 13-9 win in Dunedin. He entered the hearing appealing that he was not guilty but this did not sway the organizers of the World Cup and he will now miss games against Georgia and Romania. It could have been much worse ‘but the incident was said to be low end’ and therefore he will be free to play against Scotland in the final pool match in Auckland on October 1.
England have 48 hours to accept or appeal the ruling but I think it’s a good result and they shouldn’t risk appealing as this could lead to an extension on his ban which they do not need.
A Rugby World Cup Ltd statement read: “Lawes, who pleaded not guilty, was suspended by independent judicial officer Terry Willis (Australia) in accordance with the Rugby World Cup 2011 disciplinary process.
“Having conducted a detailed review of all the evidence available, including all broadcast angles and additional evidence from the player and submissions from his counsel, Richard Smith QC, the judicial officer upheld the citing on the basis that the player had committed an act of foul play.
“With respect to the sanction, the offence was deemed to be low-end (which has an entry point of three weeks).
“However, taking into account mitigating factors being his excellent disciplinary record and remorse and the absence of aggravating factors, the player was suspended for two weeks.
“In the context of the Rugby World Cup tournament a week equates to one match.
“Therefore, Lawes is suspended for two Rugby World Cup 2011 matches and is free to resume playing for England’s Pool B match against Scotland in Auckland on October 1.”