Attwood to face hearing over 'stamping'

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The Independent Online

Dave Attwood, the young lock whose aggressive displays for Gloucester in last season's Premiership earned him promotion to the senior squad for this five-match tour of the Antipodes, found himself on the wrong end of the southern hemisphere's disciplinary machinery after yesterday's opening match. The 23-year-old, playing at this level for the first time, was cited for two alleged stamping offences, one in each half, and was scheduled to face a hearing today.

A decent outside bet for a place on the bench in the first Test with the Wallabies on Saturday, he will certainly be ruled out if found guilty by the judicial officer Paul Tully. Unfortunately for him, he will not be represented in the usual meticulous fashion. No strangers to citings in this neck of the rugby woods, England have taken to touring with their own barrister in recent years, but work commitments have prevented their pet QC, Richard Smith, from travelling on this occasion.

Yesterday's match with the Australian Barbarians was not notable for its foul play: indeed, the referee Stuart Dickinson had no cause to warn anyone for anything apart from the odd technical offence at scrum and ruck. But the citing commissioner Scott Nowland felt he saw enough of Attwood's boots in the wrong places to lay charges against him.

Attwood is likely to be supported at the hearing by his manager, Martin Johnson. The World Cup-winning captain was a regular feature at disciplinary tribunals during his playing days, although he rarely found himself in trouble while on England duty.

This, however, will be an entirely new experience for him, as Attwood is the first red rose player to find himself up before the bench since Johnson succeeded Brian Ashton in 2008.

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