Exiles centre Terrence Hepetema and Gloucester wing Ollie Thorley receive bans

Terrance Hepetema and Ollie Thorley have both received bans for their red cards in last weekend’s round of Premiership action.

London Irish centre Hepetema was cited for a dangerous tackle on Leicester Tigers wing Kobus van Wyk, while Gloucester back Thorley was similarly charged under World Rugby Law 9.13 for a clash of heads with Wasps full-back Rob Miller.

After the duo were brought before an independent disciplinary panel, Hepetema has received a three-week ban and Thorley a four-week ban.

The panel determined that Hepetema’s shoulder to the head of van Wyk was an incident that carried a mid-range entry point of six weeks.

But, due to the New Zealander’s acceptance of the charge, the panel permitted a 50 per cent migitation to halve the length of his ban to three weeks.

The independent disciplinary panel said via an RFU statement on Hepetema: “The player and the club gave evidence to the panel in relation to the mechanics of the tackle. Having considered this evidence and having examined the footage carefully, the panel found that the player’s action was a reckless one rather than intentional.

“However, in opting to make this type of tackle, he ran the risk that the action might result in an act of foul play occurring. There was no suggestion that the player had deliberately intended to make contact with the opposition player’s head.
 
“Having considered these aspects very carefully, the panel determined that a mid-range starting point of six weeks was appropriate. The player’s acceptance of the charge, clean record and other mitigating factors allowed the panel to apply the full 50 per cent mitigation.”

Hepetema is free to play again on March 30, meaning he will miss matches against Worcester, Sale and Bath.

As for Gloucester ace Thorley, who was red carded in the 28th minute by referee Matt Carley, his decision to contest the charge will prove in vain as he now misses the Champions Cup clash with La Rochelle next month.

The statement explained: “Having considered all of the evidence alongside helpful and extensive submissions from both parties the panel decided that the red card issued by the referee should be upheld. Because this incident involved contact with the head, the panel was required by the regulations to impose at least a mid-range entry point of six weeks.

“The panel then applied the maximum amount of mitigation available, given the player had contested the red card.”

Thorley, called into the England squad for last year’s Autumn Nations Cup, will not be eligible to play until April 6.

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