Samoa centre Rey Lee-Lo has received a three-match ban following his high tackle on Russia full-back Vasily Artemyev in their clash earlier this week.
Lee-Lo clearly caught the Russian livewire in the head with his shoulder which is a red card offence as outlined by referee, Romain Poite.
However, during the consultation with his TMO Graham Hughes, mitigating circumstances came to light that Artemyev dipped his head into the tackle by a couple of inches and Lee-Lo escaped with a yellow card.
The 32-year-old was cited following the game and appeared before an independent judicial committee today.
— The Rugby Paper (@TheRugbyPaper) September 24, 2019
The committee deemed that the incident was an act of foul play and warranted a red card in line with the high tackle sanction framework. In following the framework, the committee determined:
1. There was an act of foul play (which was reckless, rather than deliberate)
2. The act of foul play was a high tackle
3. There was contact with the head
4. There was a high degree of danger
5. The ball carrier changed height, but not sufficient to mitigate from a red card to a yellow card
Given the above outcomes, the committee determined that the act of foul play warranted a red card and applied World Rugby’s mandatory minimum mid-range entry point, which was introduced in 2017 to mitigate the risk of head injuries, carrying a minimum six-match suspension.
Having acknowledged Lee-Lo’s disciplinary record, good character and conduct at the hearing, the committee reduced the six-match entry point by three matches, resulting in a sanction of three matches.
Lee-Lo will miss Samoa’s three remaining pool matches against Scotland, Japan and Ireland. The suspension will end at midnight on 12 October after which he is free to resume playing.
The player has the right to appeal the decision within 48 hours of receiving the written decision.