The latest from the rugby disciplinary panel

Now that the rugby season is back in force, three of our team here at Hutchinson Thomas are resuming their duties in rugby discipline.

Roger Morris, Chair of the Pro14 Discipline Panel, has returned this week from Munich where he dealt with a red card in the Oktoberfest 7s, the most high profile rugby event in Germany. Back home, Simon Thomas and Rhian Williams have already sat in on two hearings via Skype concerning players who were shown the red card.

Rugby disciplinaries started in 1996 during the European Cup when match commissioners were appointed to games to deal with disputes. Lawyers played a key role from the start due to their ability to judge cases with balance and objectivity.   

At last week’s hearings, Simon and Rhian sat on the panel in determining the outcome of two players; Edinburgh prop Michele Rizzo and Munster lock Fineen Wycherley.

Michele Rizzo was shown the red card by referee John Lacey for charging into a ruck and making contact with the head of his opponent (Scarlets’ scrum half Gareth Davies).  The panel decided that Rizzo’s behaviour was reckless rather than intentional and, taking all matters into account, he was suspended from playing rugby for four weeks.

Wycherley, meanwhile, was sent off for striking Glasgow Warriors player Tim Swinson with his elbow and making contact with Swinson’s head. He has been banned for three weeks.

Read more about Simon and Rhian’s involvement in rugby disciplinaries here.