Pau head coach Sebastien Piqueronies has received a 10-week suspension after he was found guilty of using threatening words and actions towards a referee.
Piqueronies was cited following the incident that saw him grab Scottish referee Sam Grove-White after the Challenge Cup match against the Cheetahs last week.
The Cheetahs won the game 21-16 at Stade du Hameau in Round One of the competition.
Piqueronies was reported for allegedly physically abusing Grove-White, but found guilty of the less serious offence of using threatening words and actions by an independent disciplinary committee, tournament organisers European Professional Club Rugby said.
“The committee did not accept that Piqueronies was simply trying to shake the referee’s hand,” EPCR said.
Disciplinary committee chair Jeremy Summers added: “Match official abuse has no place in rugby, and this decision reinforces the message that offenders, at whatever level, will be subject to significant sanction.”
The Pau coach is banned from any match-day contact with his playing squad, including access to the technical zone, pitchside, dressing rooms, any team areas and team communications systems.
Oupa Mohoje suspended for three weeks
Meanwhile, Cheetahs back-row Oupa Mohoje has been suspended for three weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing arising from the same fixture.
Mohoje was cited by the Citing Commissioner Csaba Priskin (Czech Republic), for a dangerous tackle on Pau centre Yvan Reilhac in the 26th minute of the match in contravention of Law 9.13.
However, after consideration, the committee decided to amend the charge to one of dangerous play at a ruck or maul in contravention of Law 9.20.
The committee found that Mohoje had committed an act of foul play that warranted a red card and it determined that the offending was at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and six weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point.
Due to the player’s clear disciplinary record and his guilty plea, it was decided to grant him the full 50% mitigation and the committee therefore reduced the sanction by three weeks before imposing a three-week suspension.
Mohoje is free to play on Monday, January 16, however, if he applies for and successfully completes a World Rugby Coaching Intervention, he will be free to play on Monday, January 9.
Both he and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.
Charlie Maddison suspended for three weeks
In other disciplinary news, Newcastle Falcons hooker Charlie Maddison has been suspended for three weeks following his own independent Disciplinary Hearing.
Maddison was cited by the match Citing Commissioner, Kay Winter-Green (Wales), for striking the Connacht scrum-half Caolin Blade with his head in a dangerous manner in contravention of Law 9.12.
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The committee found that Maddison had committed an act of foul play that warranted a red card in that he struck Blade with his head in a dangerous manner and it determined that the offending was at the low end of World Rugby’s sanctions and six weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point.
It was decided to grant him the full 50% mitigation and the committee therefore reduced the sanction by three weeks before imposing a three-week suspension.
Maddison is free to play on Monday, January 2, and both he and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.