Hala'Ufia wins five-match ban appeal
December 7, 2012
London Irish No.8 Chris Hala'Ufia is free to play again after overturning a five-match ban © Getty Images
London Irish forward Chris Hala'Ufia is free to play in the Exiles' Amlin Challenge Cup clash with Gloucester on Saturday after he won his appeal against a five-week ban for a tip tackle.
The Tongan was red carded by referee JP Doyle for a tip tackle during last weekend's Aviva Premiership defeat against London Welsh and handed his five-match ban on Tuesday. He immediately appealed the decision though and was cleared by disciplinary officer Gareth Rees QC on Friday.
"My feelings immediately after the game was that it was perfectly-executed well-timed tackle and I'm glad to say the video evidence suggests that," London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith told BBC Radio Berkshire.
"Frustratingly that contest was impacted by the red card in the match," added Smith. "I'm not saying that's why we lost the match but it certainly changed the fabric of the game. You're scrumming eight against seven and they clearly won penalties and kicked goals. It changed what we could do because our whole attacking game and defensive structure is set around 15 blokes being on the pitch for 80 minutes. We weren't just hindered for a short time it was pretty much the entire match. It is disappointing."
Banahan received a three-week ban on Tuesday after he was sent off for a dangerous tackle during last weekend's Aviva Premiership clash against Leicester. Mears was cited for punching in the same game and landed a two-week suspension.
Both appeals were heard by Gareth Rees QC, the Rugby Football Union announced, with centre Banahan remaining sidelined until December 24 and hooker Mears being able to return seven days earlier.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin
After Brian O'Driscoll's emotional final Ireland appearance on home soil, and seeing the Six Nations boil down to a three-horse race, we bring you the Weekend in PIctures
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year