Attwood escapes stamping ban through loophole
June 9, 2010
Dave Attwood has had a lucky escape from a potentially tour-ending ban © Getty Images
England lock Dave Attwood has had two stamping charges against him dismissed due to a 'procedural' loophole in which the Australian citing commissioner could not be considered independent.
It emerged that the ARU had failed to agree with England on the use of an Australian judicial team for the game. The standard IRB tours agreement states that all Test matches and international tour matches should have independent judicial and citing officers.
The IRB appoint all Test officials but there has to be an agreement between both unions for the neutrality of those officials to change for tour matches. On this occasion, however, no such agreement had been made as the RFU was not consulted over Nowland's appointment for the match.
Attwood, 23, appeared before a disciplinary panel in Perth after being cited over two alleged incidents in England's 28-28 draw with the Australian Barbarians. The Gloucester forward was alleged to have stamped on scrum-half Josh Valentine in the 34th minute and his opposite number Mitch Chapman in the 50th minute.
Attwood's tour was in danger of heading home early if found guilty but the hearing never got as far as the actual incidents because England's team management successfully argued that Australian citing commissioner Scott Nowland could not be considered an "independent authority" and the charges were dropped.
An ARU statement read: "England team management successfully argued the hearing of two alleged stamping incidents involving Attwood could not proceed because the citing commissioner, as an Australian, was not an independent authority."
Attwood is now free to press his claims for a place on the England bench for Saturday's first Test, with the squad announced on Thursday.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September