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David Pocock handed three-week suspension over neck grab

  • David Pocock has been suspended for three weeks after pleading guilty to a charge of playing an opponent
  • The back-rower grasped the neck of Chiefs number eight Michael Leitch in a maul six minutes from the end of the game
  • The 27-year-old will only miss two Super Rugby matches, away against the Waratahs (April 16) and home to the Canterbury Crusaders (April 24)
Australia loose-forward David Pocock has been suspended for three weeks after pleading guilty to a charge of playing an opponent without the ball in the ACT Brumbies’ 48-23 Super Rugby loss to the Waikato Chiefs on Saturday.

Pocock pleaded guilty to the charge of dangerous play, and was suspended from all rugby till April 25 by Sanzaar duty judicial officer Adam Cassleden. He will only miss two matches, with the Brumbies having the bye this weekend.

Cassleden accepted a guilty plea from Pocock for contravening Law 10.4(e), playing a player without the ball, after he was cited for the 74th minute incident in the match in Canberra. He grasped the neck of Chiefs No 8 Leitch during a maul.

La prise au cou dangereuse de David Pocock sur… by Le-Rugbynistere

“Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including from the player and submissions from his legal representative I accepted the player’s admission that he had committed an act of foul play contrary to law 10.4(e),” said Cassleden in his ruling.

“In its memorandum on ‘Dangerous tackles (high tackles), dangerous grasping of neck and/or head area of player not in possession of the ball and dangerous grasping/holding of ball carrier above the line of the shoulder’, dated 22 May 2015, World Rugby stated ‘this type of dangerous play which is foul play must be dealt with severely by match officials and all those involved in the disciplinary process.'”

Cassleden deemed the act of foul play merited a low-end entry point of two weeks. He took into account mitigating factors including Pocock’s early plea, his good character, his genuine remorse and his excellent disciplinary record.