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Hala'ufia banned for 11 weeks

London Irish number eight Chris Hala'ufia has been banned for 11 weeks after his citing following a Heineken Cup game.

A hearing for Hala'ufia was reconvened in Dublin on Thursday, at which independent judicial officer Mark McParland imposed a suspension that will sideline the player until May 17.

He was cited for a dangerous tackle on Racing Metro full-back Gaetan Germain during a Heineken Cup pool match in Paris on December 10.

Hala'ufia broke his arm in the same game, so the hearing was adjourned until he resumed playing again.

Tonga international Hala'ufia, 33, has a right of appeal, but as things stand he will not play for Irish again this season unless they reach the Aviva Premiership final on May 26.

McParland heard submissions from the player, who pleaded guilty to the offence, Irish team manager Kieran McCarthy and forwards coach Neal Hatley, while he also received evidence and submissions from European Rugby Cup disciplinary officer Roger O'Connor.

McParland decided the offence warranted a mid-range entry point of a six-week suspension, but added six weeks for Hala'ufia's poor disciplinary record and another fortnight as a deterrent.

But he also took into account the player's guilty plea, his remorse, the injury he suffered and internal disciplinary action taken by Irish, which added up to a three-week reduction.

Hala'ufia received a seven-week ban from the Rugby Football Union earlier this season for a dangerous and high tackle on Gloucester full-back Olly Morgan in an Aviva Premiership match, which was not the first time he has faced disciplinary action.

Irish, who play Wasps on Saturday, still have an outside chance of reaching the Premiership play-offs, standing 10 points behind fourth-placed Leicester with six league games remaining.


From Belfast Telegraph