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Brad Barritt could be facing disciplinary hearing over tackle on Geoff Parling

Saracens captain Brad Barritt should face a disciplinary hearing next week for the head-high challenge that could jeopardise Exeter lock Geoff Parling's career.

Prop Richard Barrington was sent off for an unwitting but sickening shoulder charge on Parling, that knocked the ex-Leicester Tigers lock unconcious.

Saracens ground out a 13-13 draw with Exeter at Allianz Park that sent them top of the Aviva Premiership, but the match was marred by Barritt and Barrington's illegal double hit on Parling.

Barritt avoided punishment on Saturday, but can now expect to be cited and be called to a disciplinary hearing.

Parling was stood down for 10 weeks in September 2014 after suffering two concussions in a month at Leicester, and could now face another spell on the sidelines.

"I haven't looked at it really, really closely, so it's probably unwise for me to say anything because there's probably going to be a hearing on Tuesday or Wednesday," said Saracens boss Mark McCall of Barritt's challenge on Parling.

"The players were incredible with how they coped and dealt with all the situations that arose, and by the end it was a game that we maybe could have won as well.

"I felt Geoff was going to the ground and Richard (Barrington) came in as the adjusting defender, and he made contact. Obviously we hope Geoff's okay."

World Rugby's new directives on high tackles that came into force on January 3 played havoc with officiating in north London on Saturday.

Barrington was sent off after 10 minutes, while Barritt avoided censure. Barritt's swinging-arm tackle appeared worthy of a dismissal, so the former England centre could now face a suspension along with Barrington.

Jack Nowell claimed a smart try to put Exeter into a 10-3 half-time lead, only for 14-man Saracens to rally and scramble a draw thanks to Titi Lamositele's late converted try.

Five players in all suffered concussions in a bruising Allianz Park clash, with Exeter's Ollie Atkins withdrawn for a head knock to add to Parling's problems.

Marcelo Bosch, Nick Tompkins and Barritt all picked up head injuries for Saracens, leaving both coaches frustrated with the changes in refereeing of high tackles.

"Today ended up being a titanic struggle between 15 and 14, but I don't think anyone wants to see those kinds of games," said McCall.

"I think we need to be sensible, I'm not saying they weren't today, but we've got to be sensible with how we apply this care for players, and that's all."

Exeter head coach Rob Baxter insisted Parling has no other issues aside from concussion, but admitted the 33-year-old will go through the return-to-play protocols.

"Geoff's okay, it was a concussive injury," said Baxter.

"I've just seen him in the changing rooms now and asked him if it feels like anything else, and he's said he just felt like he was knocked out.

"He'll go through the standard protocols, a lot of what happened at Leicester, there was a different issue that stood Geoff down for a while.

"That contact today would have knocked out a heavyweight boxer, let alone Geoff.

"So we're certainly not worried that there are any other issues other than he's been unlucky enough to take a big blow today.

"In a way you would say Richard Barrington's been a little unfortunate, in that his collision only happens because of the first collision.

"You can either say yes the new rules are hugely confusing or no they're not confusing at all, that is if you make contact with the head you might have a red card.

"It depends which way you look at it.

"The way you've got to look at it is that any contact with the head could be a red card, so you do everything you can to avoid that situation.

"And leading with shoulders in any part of the game now is a big no-no.

"But if in a year's time, with the pressure to push towards low tackles, we have more concussions than we're having currently, then what will come next?"


From Belfast Telegraph