Saracens prop Josh Ibuanokpe banned for five weeks

Saracens will begin their Gallagher Premiership campaign this Saturday
Saracens will begin their Gallagher Premiership campaign this Saturday
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Saracens prop Josh Ibuanokpe will be banned for five weeks after proved guilty of striking with the head charge in the recently concluded Premiership Rugby Cup game against Harlequins.

The 23-year-old, who joined the Allianz Park outfit from the Quins in 2019 struck the head of former England skipper Chris Robshaw and was initially handed a 10-week suspension that was reduced to half after the panel deemed Ibuanokpe's act was not deliberate.

"The panel accepted the player's explanation that his sole focus was on trying to disrupt the ruck," Panel chair Matthew Weaver said.

"The player submitted that he had not deliberately made contact with the head of Chris Robshaw but any contact made had been as a result of getting 'overexcited' having successfully counter-rucked moments before. The panel agreed with this assessment of the incident.

"Contact was made with the head of the player to Chris Robshaw's head/neck and as such the mandatory mid-range entry point applied. Having agreed that his actions were reckless and caused no injury, it was not necessary to consider a top-end starting point.

"The player accepted the charge, has a clear disciplinary record, was remorseful for the impact of his action and apologised. The club spoke of the positive impression he had made on the club since joining this season."

Saracens will kick-start their Gallagher Premiership campaign against Northampton Saints at Allianz Park on Saturday.

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