Johnny Sexton to face EPCR disciplinary hearing over Champions Cup conduct

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton could be suspended for the start of the Rugby World Cup after being cited for his conduct towards officials following Leinster’s defeat in the Heineken Champions Cup final.

On Thursday, European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) issued a statement confirming misconduct complaints have been lodged against Sexton and his club for failing to control him after French side La Rochelle secured a tense 27-26 victory over Leinster at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium last month.

Despite being sidelined by injury, Sexton made his way onto the field following the match, and was captured on video engaging in what appeared to be a heated discussion with South African referee Jaco Peyper and the other match officials.

If Sexton is found guilty, he may potentially face a ban. The 37-year-old is currently preparing for the World Cup with Ireland, which is set to take place in France at the beginning of September.

The veteran fly-half is set to retire after the tournament, and if the independent disciplinary panel – which will hear the case on July 13 – issues a substantial ban, his involvement in Ireland’s preparations could be affected.

A statement from the EPCR read: “Misconduct complaints against the Leinster Rugby player, Johnny Sexton, and against Leinster Rugby, arising from the Heineken Champions Cup final on Saturday May 20, 2023, have been lodged by EPCR.

Sexton captained Ireland to a Grand Slam in the 2023 Six Nations.

“After thorough fact finding and careful review of Johnny Sexton’s behaviour towards match officials after the match, in accordance with EPCR regulations, the EPCR disciplinary officer has submitted misconduct complaints so that an independent disciplinary panel can determine whether any misconduct has been committed by Mr Sexton (through his behaviour) and Leinster (through failing to exercise reasonable control over Mr Sexton).

“The complaints were referred to the chairman of the independent disciplinary panel, who has appointed Christopher Quinlan KC (England, Chair), Adam Casselden SC (Australia) and Marcello D’Orey (Portugal) as the independent disciplinary committee to hear the case and consider whether misconduct took place.

“The hearing will take place by video conference, on July 13. EPCR will be making no further comment.”

Ireland have three warm-up fixtures on the horizon, including against England in Dublin on August 19.

Andy Farrell’s men begin their World Cup campaign against Romania on September 9 at Stade de Bordeaux, with South Africa, Scotland and Tonga also in Pool B.


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