Sale Sharks have lost their appeal against the ban of Siale Piutau for striking Worcester's Andrew Kitchener in the 19th round Gallagher Premiership clash between the two sides.
The incident happened in the 79th minute of the game as Kitchener was red-carded while Piutau, who was yellow-carded was cited by the independent citing commissioner Tony Diprose.
Both the players were handed a three-week ban but Bristol director of rugby Pat Lam expressed frustration over the decision and appealed against the ban of Piutau. The 34-year-old appeared before an independent disciplinary panel comprising of Sir James Dingemans (chair), Sam Hillas QC and Becky Essex on Thursday following which the appeal was dismissed.
“Mr Piutau appealed against his three-match suspension, which was imposed by an RFU disciplinary panel on 8 September 2020, for punching Worcester Warriors’ Andrew Kitchener, contrary to World Rugby Law 9.12 during the match between Worcester Warriors and Bristol Bears which was played on Friday 4 September 2020," read a statement from the independent disciplinary panel.
“It was common ground before the disciplinary panel and appeal panel that Mr Piutau had punched Mr Kitchener and committed an act of foul play.
“Mr Piutau appealed on the basis that the sanction imposed on him by the disciplinary panel was excessive because he was acting in self-defence, and because he had mitigation from his good standing at the club and in the community.
“Appendix 2 of RFU Regulation 19 provides that any act of foul play which results in contact with the head shall result in at least a mid-range sanction.
“This gave a minimum mandatory sanction of six weeks. The disciplinary panel had then applied the maximum mitigation of 50 per cent, resulting in the suspension for three matches. The appeal was therefore dismissed.”