Munster and Ireland winger Keith Earls has been banned for two weeks following his dangerous tackle on Glasgow Warriors hooker Fraser Brown, meaning he will miss Ireland’s clash with New Zealand.
Earls was sent off in the European Cup for Munster against Glasgow in just the 19th minute of the fixture on Saturday, with his spear-like tackle adjudged by referee Jerome Garces to have been worthy of a red card offence.
The match was played out in incredibly emotional scenes at Thomond Park following the tragic death of Munster coach Anthony Foley at the age of just 42 a week earlier in Paris.
Despite Earls’ early sending off, Munster powered to a thoroughly impressive 38-17 victory.
Earls was cited in contravention of Law 10.4 (j): Dangerous tackling of an opponent.
After attending a independent disciplinary committee hearing in London today,Earls was actually banned for less than the lowest entry point suspension for such a violation.
“An independent disciplinary committee consisting of Mike Hamlin (England), Chairman, Roddy Dunlop QC (Scotland) and Andrea Caranci (Italy) heard evidence and submissions from Earls, who pleaded guilty to the offence,” an ERC statement read.
“In upholding the red card decision, the committee found that the offence was at the low end of World Rugby’s sanctions and selected four weeks as the appropriate entry point.
“As there were no aggravating factors, the committee then reduced the sanction by a maximum of two weeks due to Earls’ timely guilty plea, expression of remorse and clean disciplinary record before imposing a suspension of two weeks.”
Earls received a two-week ban despite law 10.4 (j) carrying sanction entry points of four weeks for low-end, eight weeks for mid-range and 12 to 52 weeks for top-end, with the ERC citing Earl’s remorse and clean disciplinary record as key factors.
As such Earls will miss Munster’s clash with Ulster at Ravenhill and Ireland’s autumn international against New Zealand in Chicago on 5 November.
He will be free to return for Ireland’s match with Canada on 12 November, second clash with the All Blacks in Dublin on 19 November and Australia on 26 November.