Connacht Rugby fans were expecting a long ban for Abraham Papali’i who got his 3rd red card of the season last week.
So the four-week ban coming down from six weeks will be seen as very fair, Connacht coach Andy Friend had expected a six-week ban.
In considering mitigation, the Judicial Officer found that, apart from a clean record, all mitigating features were present including the Player’s early and full admission, spontaneous apology to his opponent and his engagement with the process. As a consequence, the period of suspension was reduced by two weeks instead of three. The Player has been banned for a period of four weeks.
Benetton 17-12 Connacht
Abraham Papali'i is given a red card after a shoulder to the head.
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— eir Sport (@eirSport) May 29, 2021
Abraham Papali’i of Connacht Rugby has been suspended for a period of four weeks after receiving a red card during the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup Round 4 fixture against Benetton on May 29, 2021.
Papali’I was shown a red card by referee Gianluca Gnecchi (FIR) under Law 9.13 – A Player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously. Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, tackling or attempting to tackle an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders.
The disciplinary process for the offence was presided over by Rhian Williams (WRU) who found that the foul play was reckless rather than intentional and noted that no injury was suffered by the opposing player. The Judicial Officer concluded that a mid-range offence had occurred, which carries a six-week suspension. In order to determine the extent of foul play, Hawk-eye footage, Referee Reports, Medical Reports and Player Reports were considered, as well as the Player’s response to the standing directions.
In applying the off-field considerations of aggravation and mitigation, the Player’s recent disciplinary record was seriously considered as an aggravating factor. However, in the Player’s responses, not only did he display a frank and honest recognition of his offending but also a serious commitment and determination to addressing it in practical terms so that no additional suspension was imposed.