Mapimpi handed 2-week ban for 'reckless contact with eye area' against Bordeaux

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Luke Pearce (L) with Makazole Mapimpi. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)
Luke Pearce (L) with Makazole Mapimpi. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)

In-form Sharks wing Makazole Mapimpi has been hit with a two-week ban for "making contact with the eye or eye area" of Union Bordeaux-Begles scrumhalf, Maxime Lucu, during their 32-3 victory at Kings Park last weekend.

The Springbok World Cup winner was cited this week following an on-field complaint from Lucu to referee Luke Pearce but video evidence at the time showed nothing conclusive and play continued.

The European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) Disciplinary Committee deemed that Mapimpi's transgression "warranted a red card" but was on the low end of World Rugby's sanction regulations.

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Mapimpi was initially given a four-week ban, which was reduced to two weeks because of the player's good disciplinary record.

The winger will miss the Sharks' Champions Cup clash against Harlequins in London on Saturday (15:00 kick-off) and the visit to Edinburgh the following Saturday in the United Rugby Championship (URC).

Meanwhile, London Irish prop, Ciaran Parker, has been suspended for two weeks after his high shot on Deon Fourie during their clash with the Stormers last Sunday, which earned him one of two red cards in the game.

Parker's teammate, Ben Loader, was given a three-week ban for his head clash with Manie Libbok that ruled the Bok flyhalf out of action for at least a week through concussion. 

Full EPCR statement:

The Sharks wing, Makazole Mapimpi, has been suspended for two weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing arising from his club’s Champions Cup, Round 3 match against Union Bordeaux-Begles at Kings Park.

Mapimpi was cited by the match Citing Commissioner, Brian Campsall (England), for making contact with the eye or eye area of the Union Bordeaux-Begles scrumhalf, Maxime Lucu, in the 36th minute of the match in contravention of Law 9.12.

Law 9.12 A player must not physically abuse anyone. Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.12 relating to contact with the eye or eye area carries the following sanction entry points - Low End: 4 weeks; Mid-range: 8 weeks; Top end: 12 to 52 weeks

An independent Disciplinary Committee comprising Antony Davies (England), Chair, Leon Lloyd (England) and Donal Courtney (Ireland) heard submissions from Mapimpi, from the player’s legal representative, Attie Heyns, from the Cell C Sharks Team Manager, Trevor Barnes, and from the Cell C Sharks Head of Team Culture, André Barnard.

Evidence and submissions were also heard from Lucu and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.

The committee upheld the citing complaint, finding that Mapimpi had made reckless contact with Lucu’s eye area which warranted a red card and it determined that the offending was at the low end of World Rugby’s sanctions and four weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point.

Due to the player’s clear disciplinary record, it was decided to grant him the full 50% mitigation and the committee therefore reduced the sanction by two weeks before imposing a two-week suspension.

Mapimpi is free to play on Monday, 30 January and both he and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.

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