Harlequins have given Dave Ward a one-game ban for stamping but cleared the hooker of spitting at an opponent, the London club announced Sunday.
The incident that led to Ward’s suspension took place in the 11th minute of Quins’ 20-13 English Premiership win over Wasps on Saturday.
Ward appeared to spit in the direction of Thomas Young before stepping on the ankle of the Welsh flanker, who was lying on the ground.
The Harlequins front-row forward has apologised for the stamp on Young, which drew a yellow card, but denied spitting.
“I apologise unreservedly to Thomas Young, Wasps and everyone at Harlequins for my yellow card,” Ward said. “I would also like to make clear that I did not spit on another player during the match yesterday.
“Regardless of what the television footage looks like, I know that I have never spat on a player in all my career and will never do so.”
Following the incident, which took place soon after Ward performed a neck roll on Young in a fiery clash, Harlequins decided to take their own disciplinary action.
Nevertheless, the 33-year-old Ward could yet be cited for any one of three possible offences — the neck roll, stamping and spitting — by citing officer Buster White, who has until 6pm on Sunday to decide on whether to take matters further.
Harlequins, in a club statement, said they were “satisfied there is no case to answer” regarding the spitting incident.
As for Ward’s stamp on Young, the son of Wasps boss Dai Young, Quins coach Paul Gustard said “We do not coach, condone or accept foul play and on behalf of the team and the club, I apologise to Thomas, Dai and Wasps for this incident.
“It was an unnecessary and regrettable incident in what was a tightly contested match at Twickenham.”
© Agence France-Presse (Additional edits by Marisa Kennedy)