By Adam Ellis
Leicester Tigers second-row forward Will Spencer will be unavailable for selection until mid-October after an independent disciplinary panel banned him for four weeks.
In a hearing which lasted over three hours, the panel found Spencer had breached tackling laws for his tackle on Wasps hooker Tommy Taylor which had Tigers coach Geordan Murphy bemoaning the laws for being ‘too politically correct’.
“The panel found on the balance of probabilities that this was a reckless tackle that resulted in direct, forceful contact to the head of Tommy Taylor,” said panel chair Euan Ambrose.
“The panel rejected the player’s evidence that any contact with the opposition player had been limited to the top of his shoulder with no contact being made to his head.”
Spencer, who plead not guilty to the charge, will be sidelined for the next three Premiership matches for a Tigers side who begin their Heineken Champions Cup campaign in October with matches against Ulster and Scarlets.
In the same week that former Leicester lock Dominic Ryan announced his retirement through serious concussion issues, Spencer’s dismissal in the Midlands derby divided opinion.
Team-mate Ellis Genge commented on social media: ‘We might as well play touch rugby nowadays.’ While Murphy called the decision ‘crazy’ and ‘bull****’.
The decision by the panel to ban Spencer follows another lengthy hearing attended by Bristol Bears flanker George Smith last week. The veteran Australian was cited by a shoulder hit which connected with the head of Jackson Wray, but was found not guilty and free to play.
🔴 Was this hit from George Smith worthy of a red card? pic.twitter.com/WH9QyfpPn7
— RUGBYcomau (@rugbycomau) September 11, 2018
Random question if Will Spencer’s tackle was a red 🤷🏻♂️ what’s the difference with this ? Still contact to head !? Thoughts @davidflatman @ugomonye @AndyGoode10 @jimhamilton4 pic.twitter.com/2Vg1BvbYCq
— matt banahan (@mattbanahan1) September 17, 2018