Northampton consider appeal over Calum Clark 32 week ban
Friday 30 March 2012
Northampton say they are "bound to consider the merits of an appeal" after their back-row forward Calum Clark was banned for 32 weeks.
England hopeful Clark's rugby career is on hold after he was made to pay a hefty price for foul play during a showpiece cup final.
The England elite squad member cannot play again until November 2 following a Rugby Football Union hearing last night.
Clark, 22, was cited after an incident during Northampton's LV= Cup final defeat against Leicester 12 days ago, and then suspended indefinitely by his club.
Clark, who captained Saints in the final, was reported for an act contrary to good sportsmanship, allegedly hyperextending Leicester hooker Rob Hawkins' right arm.
It left Hawkins with a broken elbow and requiring surgery, sidelining him for the rest of this season.
Clark's suspension of more than seven months is among the longest handed out to a senior English player during rugby union's 16-and-a-half-year professional era.
In a statement, Saints said: "The disciplinary panel found that Calum Clark had not intended to injure Rob Hawkins in the course of moving his arm.
"Accordingly, the unfortunate injury suffered by Rob Hawkins was unintentional.
"In the light of that finding of the disciplinary panel, Northampton Saints is bound to express concern and disappointment at the imposition of such a long suspension, even after significant mitigation in recognition in what was accepted to be Calum Clark's genuine remorse.
"Accordingly, the club is bound to consider the merits of an appeal. No further comment will be made at this time."
Television footage of the incident at Sixways, though, could have left few people in any doubt about its severity.
Pictures showed former Bath forward Hawkins reeling away in agony from a 21st-minute ruck. It was an incident that enraged Leicester rugby director Richard Cockerill.
In a statement the RFU said: "Calum Clark of Northampton Saints was suspended for 32 weeks for an act contrary to good sportsmanship - Law 10(4) (M).
"Clark pleaded guilty to hyperextending the right arm of Leicester Tigers' Rob Hawkins during the LV= Cup final at Sixways on March 18.
"The suspension will run from March 22 to the November 1. He is free to play again on November 2 2012.
"Clark is ordered to pay hearing costs of £500."
The full judgement of Clark's hearing is expected to be made available later today.
He is the second Northampton forward to receive a lengthy ban this week after club skipper and England hooker Dylan Hartley landed an eight-week suspension for biting Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris' finger during an RBS 6 Nations game on March 17.
Hartley will be available for England's three-Test summer tour to South Africa and the Aviva Premiership final at Twickenham on May 26, should play-off contenders Saints get there.
But Clark faces a far longer period of time in which to contemplate his actions that left an opposition player seriously injured.
A former England Under-20 skipper who joined Northampton from Leeds Carnegie, Clark is viewed among a promising array of young back-row talent currently available to newly-appointed England head coach Stuart Lancaster.
Radamel Falcao exclusive: Forward says joining Manchester United is a 'dream come true'
Arsenal are 'short of greatness' - so take a gamble in the transfer market, urges Terry Venables
Arsenal transfer news: Ray Parlour urges Arsene Wenger to make late move for Edinson Cavani
WWE Raw preview: Will John Cena continue to defy the threat of Brock Lesnar?
Petr Cech transfer latest: Chelsea goalkeeper posts cryptic tweet amid exit talk
- 1 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage