Heavy ban for ref abuser

Clermont flank Viktor Kolelishvili has been handed a 14-week suspension for pushing referee Wayne Barnes during a European Champions Cup match.

The incident happened in the 17th minute of Clermont's 21-13 defeat to the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium last Friday. The Georgian escaped with only a penalty against him at the time, but following an independent disciplinary hearing, judicial officer David Martin barred him from playing up until 25 April.

After hearing all the evidence, Martin accepted a guilty plea from Kolelishvili for contravening Law 10.4 (m) – Physical abuse of a match official. While defending inside their own half, Kolelishvili was seen [on TV footage] stepping out of line before shoving Barnes, who he deemed in his way.

Martin upheld the original citing complaint, saying the act of foul play warranted a red card. He determined that the offence was at the low end of World Rugby's sanctions and selected 24 weeks as the appropriate entry point.

Two more weeks were added due to the player's poor disciplinary record before the sanction was reduced by half of the entry point, taking into account Kolelishvili's immediate apology to Barnes, his subsequent remorse, guilty plea and good conduct at the hearing.

Photo: Geoff Caddick/AFP Photo

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