Ulster back rower Nick Williams appeared today before an independent PRO12 Rugby disciplinary committee, following a citing for striking an opponent – under Law 10.4(a) – in last Friday’s match between Ulster and Cardiff Blues at Kingspan Stadium.
The disciplinary committee, chaired by Roger Morris (Wales) along with Rhian Williams (Wales) and John Doubleday (England), having viewed footage of the incident involving Nick Williams and Rhys Patchell and listened to representations made by and on behalf of the Ulster forward, found that the incident was at the top end of the World Rugby sanctions for this type of offence, meriting a 16-week starting point.
In the absence of any aggravating factors and in light of several mitigating factors, including the player’s exemplary previous playing record, the disciplinary committee applied an eight-week reduction from the entry point and suspended the player from playing for eight weeks.
Taking into account the matches remaining this season, and two warm-up matches scheduled for the start of next season, Williams is free to resume playing from Monday, September 1 and has the right of appeal.
Law 10.4(a): Punching or striking. A player must not strike an opponent with the fist or arm, including the elbow, shoulder, head or knee(s).