The Fijian lock was cited following an incident at a scrum where he headbutted Ospreys hooker Scott Baldwin in the second half of their Guinness PRO12 win over the Welsh region on Saturday.
The Disciplinary Committee…having listened to representations by and on behalf of the player, viewed TV footage of the incident and reviewed various reports, found that Leone Nakarawa had committed an act of foul play worthy of a red card.
PRO12 Disciplinary Committee
Despite reviewing the incident at the time, referee George Clancy and Scottish TMO Jim Yuille could see nothing clear and obvious, with a penalty awarded to the Ospreys, but the player was found guilty at a PRO12 disciplinary hearing chaired by Pat Barriscale.
In a statement released by the tournament organisers, the committee determined that the offence should have warranted a red card with a sanction entry-point of four weeks.
“The Disciplinary Committee, chaired by Pat Barriscale, along with Philip Orr and Mark McParland (all from Ireland), having listened to representations by and on behalf of the player, viewed TV footage of the incident and reviewed various reports, found that Leone Nakarawa had committed an act of foul play worthy of a red card and considered it to be at the low end of World Rugby’s sanctions for this type of offence, which carries an entry-point of four weeks,” said the statement.
“The Committee found that there were no aggravating factors, and, taking into account mitigating factors including the player’s unblemished record, the Committee reduced the entry point by one week and imposed a three week suspension.”
The length of the ban, which makes allowance for two “down” weeks in the middle of March, sees the versatile forward miss the Warriors’ trip to Cork to take on Munster this weekend, as well as their home clash with Zebre a week later, as well as their tough trip to Dublin to take on Leinster at the end of March.
Nakarawa’s loss will be a huge blow to the Warriors, who have already lost locks Jonny Gray and Tim Swinson to the Scotland team for the Six Nations until the end of next month, while Tom Ryder left the Warriors to join Northampton Saints until the end of the season earlier in the month after struggling to get game time at Scotstoun.
Head coach Gregor Townsend drafted in Edinburgh lock Fraser McKenzie on loan for the win over the Ospreys, but he has already returned to the Gunners, who have Ben Toolis in the Scotland squad.
Toolis’s twin brother Alex has also joined the Warriors on loan, but Townsend may need to go in search of reinforcements with club captain Al Kellock their only experienced option in the second row, along with James Eddie, who started the Warriors’ last two matches at blindside flanker.
Nakarawa is suspended from playing until midnight on Sunday 29 March 2015 and has the right of appeal.
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