The beginning of the Autumn internationals are only a few weeks away and after the excitement of European action over the last two weeks, fans will be looking ahead to November with huge anticipation.
England’s Old Mutual Wealth Series begins on November 11 when they take on Argentina who they beat twice over the summer before taking on a resurgent Wallabies and then Samoa.
Eddie Jones already has to deal with a number of injury worries but he could be without even more of his key players as a considerable contingent of his squad will face disciplinary hearings this week after Round 2 of the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup.
Dylan Hartley, Nathan Hughes and Joe Marler will all face hearings for alleged incidents at the weekend.
Hartley was shown a yellow card by Ben Whitehouse for allegedly striking Rabah Slimani in Northampton Saints’ loss to Clermont Auvergne. If found guilty Hartley could face anywhere between 2-52 weeks out, depending on the severity of the incident.
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 10.4 (a), striking with the hand, carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 4 weeks; Top end: 8 to 52 weeks.
Hughes will face a hearing for an alleged dangerous tackle on Harlequins’ Marcus Smith. The complaint was made by the citing commissioner and again the ban could range from 2-52 weeks depending on the seriousness of the offence if found guilty.
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 10.4 (e), dangerous tackling, carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 6 weeks; Top end: 10 to 52 weeks.
Finally, Marler was shown a yellow card for allegedly striking Wasps’ Will Rowlands with his elbow. Like Hartley and Hughes, the ban can range from anywhere between 2-52 weeks.
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 10.4 (a), striking with the elbow, carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 6 weeks; Top end: 10 to 52 weeks.
It is incredibly unlikely that if found guilty, any of these players will receive the upper tier of sanctions. As is often the case, prior disciplinary records, guilty pleas and remorse are mitigating factors which usually lead to lower-level entry of bans.
However, it will be a worry for Eddie Jones regardless as he could potentially be without three of his players for the upcoming Autumn internationals.
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