An Australian club player has received one of rugby union’s longest bans after blindsiding a referee during a Western Australia match.
The Perth Bayswater Rugby Club member was handed a 96-match suspension, equivalent to around five years of play, under World Rugby laws.
A bystander filmed the player shoulder-charging referee Ian Sunderland, causing him to fall near the ball-carrier.
According to Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald, the unsighted referee took no on-field action, deeming the player’s actions to have been accidental, but the contact was reassessed after witness accounts and video evidence.
The unnamed player’s remorse and other mitigating factors resulted in him avoiding a harsher sentence, the newspaper reported.
Footage/Photo: Sydney Morning Herald