World Rugby announces upcoming disciplinary appointments

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World Rugby has announced the citing commissioner and disciplinary committee appointments for the upcoming June tests, British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand and Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 in Ireland.

The neutral, merit-based appointments are the first following World Rugby’s comprehensive judicial training programme under the revised judicial policy announced in November 2016 whereby World Rugby appoints three-person disciplinary committees, comprising one legally qualified judicial officer as chair and two individuals with recent high-level playing, coaching or refereeing experience.

This approach reflects the international federation’s commitment to driving a greater connection between the off-field disciplinary process and the modern rugby environment and follows extensive practical training of personnel as well as World Rugby’s high-performance match officials.

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Citing commissioners and disciplinary committees

The independent citing commissioners were appointed by the independent judicial panel chairman Christopher Quinlan QC on merit, taking into account national neutrality, following a review of performances in recent international and other elite rugby.

In keeping with the new World Rugby policy, the independent disciplinary committee selections feature a wealth of recent high-level playing, coaching and refereeing experience. These include former senior men’s internationals from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, USA and Wales; a Women’s Rugby World Cup-winner from England; a former senior Scotland women’s international; a Scotland national men’s team coach; a former USA sevens captain; a recent Super Rugby-winning coach; and two former international referees.

Several members of the panel already have considerable SANZAAR and European judicial experience.

As with the citing commissioners, these independent disciplinary committees, chaired by highly experienced judicial officers, were appointed by Quinlan on merit. Judicial officer appointments were based on review of performance in recent international and elite rugby whereas the appointment of the ex-players, coaches and referees joining the World Rugby judicial panel followed two dedicated training workshops, overseen by Quinlan and attended by World Rugby high-performance referee personnel, where the ex-players, coaches and referees were assessed in practical judicial exercises prior to appointment.

Hearing process details

Citing commissioners have between 12 and 48 hours (defined within the respective applicable tours agreement or tournament rules, with a possible time extension in exceptional circumstances) following the end of a match in which to cite any incidents.

All disciplinary hearings, as a result of red cards issued or citings, will be held before the independent disciplinary committee of three set out in the appointment list at the above link chosen from the World Rugby judicial panel, generally within 24-48 hours of the match (taking into account the to allow for any appeals to be heard before the following match. Hearing logistics for the June internationals and British and Irish Lions tour are managed by the host union and by World Rugby for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017.

Hearings will ordinarily feature a blend of the player and disciplinary committee chair being in situ with the two other panel members participating via video conference to ensure that cases can be dealt with as quickly as possible, observing neutrality and ensuring the best-possible judicial personnel regardless of location.

New Zealand Rugby and the British and Irish Lions have jointly agreed that they want all hearings to take place in person and appointments have been made to reflect the need to convene the hearing within 24-48 hours of the match.

Hearings for Women’s Rugby World Cup will take place in Dublin for the group stage and Belfast for the knock-out stages. However, subject to neutrality, travel times and hearing timings, some disciplinary committee members may join by video conference as necessary to ensure the best available committees for each case. The committee chair will always attend in person.

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