Thursday 8 December 2016

Wasps players attack decision to ban Nathan Hughes for 'knee' on George North

Published 01/04/2015 | 11:55

George North of Northampton Saints lays injured after colliding with Nathan Hughes of Wasps as he scored his second try during the Aviva Premiership match between Northampton Saints and Wasps at Franklin's Gardens on March 27
George North of Northampton Saints lays injured after colliding with Nathan Hughes of Wasps as he scored his second try during the Aviva Premiership match between Northampton Saints and Wasps at Franklin's Gardens on March 27

Wasps players have rounded on the decision to give Nathan Hughes a three-week ban for the collision with George North which left the Wales wing concussed.

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Hughes was suspended by the Rugby Football Union's disciplinary panel on Tuesday after reviewing the incident - which saw Hughes sent off - on television.

The 23-year-old Fiji-born forward Hughes was found guilty of "striking with the knee and/or shin, contrary to Law 10.4(a)," the RFU disciplinary panel announced in a statement. The player and his club had denied the charge.

It was the third time North had been knocked out in just a few weeks and the Northampton star is now facing around a month on the sidelines.

North received two blows to the head in Wales defeat to England on the opening night of the Six Nations.

But Hughes' teammates at Wasps have rallied to his defence, insisting the collision was accidental and that he has been the victim of over-zealous officialdom.

Fly-half Andy Goode tweeted: "Really can't believe or understand the ban for Nathan Hughes, firstly we all hope @George_North is ok but there was no intent and I feel the accident has been judged on outcome."

Goode then followed that tweet by posting a picture of the collision:

Goode's fellow teammate James Haskell - who has claimed that replaying controversial incidents on stadium big screens puts unfair pressure on referees - also expressed incredulity at the decision.

Hughes' ban means he will miss the Champions Cup quarter-final against Toulon on Sunday. He will not be free to play again until April 28 which would mean the number eight also missing the semi-final if Wasps prevail against the defending champions in France.

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