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Pocock pleads guilty, banned for three weeks for neck grab

Are the Aussies really as bad as they seem in Super Rugby? (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)
5th April, 2016
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SANZAR has handed David Pocock a three-week suspension after he pleaded guilty to charges that he grabbed the neck of Chiefs player Michael Leitch.

Pocock was cited with the issued deemed worthy of an off-the-field red card.

The TMO checked the incident live but was given the wrong camera angle, thus play resumed and SANZAAR cited the incident post-match.

In effect, Pocock will only miss two matches, as the ban includes a scheduled bye in round 7. However, those two matches are big ones in the calendar for the Brumbies, with Pocock to miss the massive Round 8 away clash against the Waratahs, and the round nine clash at home against the Crusaders.

SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Adam Cassleden assessed the case, and in his finding, Cassleden ruled the following:

“Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including from the player and submissions from his legal representative I accepted the player’s admission that he had committed an act of foul play contrary to law 10.4(e).

In its Memorandum on “Dangerous tackles (high tackles), dangerous grasping of neck and/or head area of player not in possession of the ball and dangerous grasping/holding of ball carrier above the line of the shoulder” dated 22 May 2015, World Rugby stated “this type of dangerous play which is foul play must be dealt with severely by match officials and all those involved in the disciplinary process.”

With respect to sanction I deemed the act of foul play merited a low-end entry point of 2 weeks. I then added one week for aggravation due to the need to deter this type of dangerous foul play. However, taking into account mitigating factors including the player’s early plea, his good character, his genuine remorse and his excellent disciplinary record I reduced the suspension to a period of two weeks.”

“The player accepted my indication of sanction of 2 weeks, and is therefore suspended from all forms of rugby up to and including Sunday, 24 April 2016. The player is free to resume playing on 25 April 2016.”

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