Attwood and Rees to learn fate
January 1, 2011
Dave Attwood charges at the La Rochelle defence © Getty Images
England lock Dave Attwood and Wales scrum-half Richie Rees potentially face considerable suspensions after being called to face European Rugby Cup disciplinary hearings in Dublin on January 6.
Attwood is charged with allegedly stamping on the face of La Rochelle prop Petrisor Toderasc during Gloucester's Amlin Challenge Cup defeat at Kingsholm on December 19.
Rees was cited after the Cardiff Blues' Heineken Cup defeat by Northampton with allegedly making contact with the eyes/eye area of Saints hooker Dylan Hartley. If found guilty, both players face extensive bans that could rule them out of the Six Nations and beyond.
Attwood has already been suspended for two weeks by Gloucester following an internal investigation into the incident, which reportedly left Toderasc initially fearing for his sight. The 23-year-old made his senior England debut against New Zealand in November and he is considered one of the best tight forward prospects in the country.
But Attwood's hopes of establishing himself in the England team during the Six Nations will be on the line when he faces independent judicial officer Robert Williams at the ERC offices in Dublin. The disciplinary guidelines dictate that a low-end ban for stamping is two weeks but the top-end suspension is nine, with the maximum of a year.
Attwood was cited for stamping after England's draw with the Australian Barbarians in Perth during the summer tour but the case was thrown out on procedural grounds. England successfully argued that the citing commissioner should not have been Australian.
Rees is likely to face an even longer ban if he is found guilty of gouging Hartley, an offence the International Rugby Board are clamping down on. The minimum ban is 12 weeks with a maximum of 156.
The Blues director of rugby Dai Young said earlier this week that Rees was surprised to be cited because he could not recall any incident in the game. Rees' case will be heard by independent judicial officer Pat Barriscale, of Ireland. Wales and England meet in the opening game of the 2011 Six Nations at the Millennium Stadium on the evening of February 4.
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