Ulster expect Payne's name to be cleared after hearing
ULSTER will vigorously defend Jared Payne when the full-back appears before an ERC disciplinary panel today to discuss the red card he received after just five minutes of the Heineken Cup defeat to Saracens at Ravenhill.
Payne was sent off by French referee Jerome Garces for an alleged dangerous charge on Saracens full-back Alex Goode, to the consternation of the vast majority of supporters and neutrals alike.
The alleged offence was in contravention of Law 10.4 (g), 'dangerous charging or knocking down an opponent with the ball' and Law 10.4(i), 'tackling, tapping, pushing or pulling an opponent jumping for the ball in open play.'
Payne could receive suspensions of anything from two weeks to a maximum of a year but he and his Ulster representatives will vigorously attest that the decision to award a red card was wrong in the first instance.
It is widely expected that the appeals panel will dismiss the original decision.
A judgment is expected this afternoon, with Simon Thomas (Wales) appointed as the independent judicial officer.
Meanwhile, Steffon Armitage, the man who almost single-handedly destroyed Leinster's Heineken Cup challenge in Toulon last weekend, cannot make the England side but he will spearhead a World XV against the Springboks in June.
As Will Greenwood joined the chorus of ex-pros suggesting that England coach Stuart Lancaster should reverse his policy of ignoring overseas players, Nick Mallett included the breakdown destroyer in his select squad.
Munster prop BJ Botha also features in the selection. The Newlands Stadium game on June 7 is a warm-up for the Boks' hosting of Wales in their summer series.