Du Preez was cited by the match Citing Commissioner, Yves Thieffine (France), for allegedly striking the Munster Rugby second row, Paul O'Connell (No 5), during the first half of the Pool 6 match at Thomond Park.
10.4(a) Punching or striking. A player must not strike an opponent with the fist or arm, including the elbow, shoulder, head or knee(s).
Under the IRB Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 10.4 (a) Striking a player with the head carries the following sanction entry points: Low End: 4 weeks; Mid-Range: 10 weeks; Top End: 16+ to 104 weeks.
The independent Judicial Officer, Jeremy Summers (England), heard evidence and submissions from Du Preez, from Edinburgh Rugby's legal representative, David Kerr, and from the ERC Disciplinary Officer.
The Judicial Officer found that while Du Preez had committed an act of foul play, he decided not to impose a sanction as he determined that the offence did not warrant a red card.
Nathan White citing decision
The Connacht Rugby prop, Nathan White, has been suspended for three (3) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin today (Thursday, 23 January 2014) arising from the Heineken Cup Round 6 match against Saracens on Saturday, 18 January.
White was cited by the match Citing Commissioner, Richard McGhee (Scotland), for allegedly stamping on the Saracens centre, Brad Barritt (No 12), during the first half of the Pool 3 game at Allianz Park in contravention of Law 10.4(b).
Law 10.4(b) A player must not stamp or trample on an opponent
Under the IRB Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 10.4(b) carries the following sanction entry points: Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-Range: 5 weeks; Top End: 9 to 52 weeks.
The independent Judicial Officer, Roger Morris (Wales), heard evidence and submissions from White, who pleaded guilty to the offence, from the Connacht Rugby legal representative, Kevin Dineen, and from the ERC Disciplinary Officer.
In upholding the citing complaint, the Judicial Officer determined that the offence was in the mid range (5 weeks) of the IRB sanctions for offences of this nature. As there were no aggravating factors, he reduced the suspension by two (2) weeks due to the player's guilty plea, his clean record, good conduct, and his remorse during the hearing.
The three-week suspension will run over a five-week term as the Judicial Officer chose to take into account two weeks during the period when the player would not have played. White is therefore free to play on Monday, 24 February 2014.
Both the player and ERC have the right to appeal the decision.
(i) Citing Commissioner
a) Citing Commissioners are appointed by ERC for all Heineken Cup and all televised Amlin Challenge Cup matches and shall be entitled to cite a player for any act or acts of Foul Play that in the Citing Commissioner's opinion warranted a red card.
b) For such matches, clubs will not have the power to cite a player but may refer incidents to the Citing Commissioner within 26 hours of the start of the match.
c) The Citing Commissioner will have 50 hours from the start of the match to make a citing. In certain circumstances this deadline can be extended.
d) The ERC Disciplinary Officer, Roger O'Connor, may forward the submitted citing to a Citing Officer to determine whether there are sufficient grounds for the citing to progress.
e) The Disciplinary Officer will then bring a charge against the cited player.
(ii) Disciplinary Hearing
a) The independent Judicial Officer is chosen by the chairman of the independent Disciplinary Panel, Professor Lorne Crerar.
b) ERC's Disciplinary Officer, Roger O'Connor, presents the case against the player.
c) If a citing complaint is upheld, the independent Judicial Officer will be required to consider the appropriate sanction. Under the IRB's sanctioning regime, which ERC is obliged to follow, the Judicial Officer will first assess the seriousness of the player's actions and determine which of the three stipulated entry points (lower end, mid range and top end) is the most appropriate.
d) The Judicial Officer will determine the appropriate entry point based on his/her assessment of a number of particular characteristics of the player's actions, including whether or not they were intentional, whether or not they caused any injuries and whether or not they had any effect on the relevant match.
e) After deciding the entry point, the Judicial Officer will then consider whether the suspension should be increased from the entry point to take account of certain specified aggravating factors, such as a poor disciplinary record or the need for deterrence, and/or decreased from the entry point to take account of certain specified mitigating actions, such as a guilty plea, a good disciplinary record, the player's conduct at the hearing and expressions of remorse.
d) A suspension is a blanket ban from playing rugby union anywhere in the world.
e) Both parties to the hearing (ERC and the player) have the right to appeal decisions of the independent Disciplinary Hearing. Appeals must be lodged within three (3) working days of receiving the full written decision of the Judicial Officer.
f) The full written decision of the Judicial Officer will be available on www.ercrugby.com/disciplinenews when the disciplinary process is complete
g) For IRB Sanctions for Foul Play, found at Appendix 1 to IRB Regulation 17, please go to www.irb.com