Ulster full-back Jared Payne has been suspended for two weeks following an independent disciplinary hearing at ERC headquarters in Dublin today.
Jared Payne’s two-week suspension arises from the province’s Heineken Cup quarter-final against Saracens at Ravenhill last Saturday.
Payne was shown a red card by referee Jérôme Garcès in the fifth minute of the match for an alleged dangerous charge on Saracens full-back Alex Goode in contravention of law 10.4(i).
Law 10.4(i) – Tackling, tapping, pushing or pulling an opponent jumping for the ball in open play.
Under the IRB sanctions for foul play, law 10.4(i) carries the following sanction entry points – low end: 3 weeks; mid-range: 6 weeks; top end: 12 to 52 weeks.
The independent judicial officer, Simon Thomas from Wales, heard evidence and submissions from Payne, Ulster director of rugby David Humphreys and team manager David Millar, as well as from ERC disciplinary officer Roger O’Connor.
In upholding the red card decision, the judicial officer determined that Payne had committed a reckless act and concluded that the offence was at the low end of the IRB sanctions for offences of this nature and selected three weeks as the appropriate entry point.
As there were no aggravating factors, and taking into account the player’s clean disciplinary record and his exemplary conduct at the hearing, the judicial officer reduced the sanction by the maximum of one week and imposed a suspension of two weeks.
He commented that the case had been a particularly challenging one and conveyed his thanks to the Ulster Rugby representatives for the quality of their defence during the hearing.
Payne will be unavailable for Ulster’s upcoming RaboDirect PRO12 games against Connacht and Glasgow Warriors. He free to play from Monday, April 21.