Tolu Latu of Stade Francais has been suspended for eleven weeks for his latest Heineken Champions Cup red card brandished last Saturday less than three months after he escaped with a one-match ban for abusive language directed at referee Wayne Barnes. The 19-cap Wallabies international fell foul of another English referee, this time Luke Pearce, with 13 minutes remaining of last weekend’s first leg round-of-16 derby match against Racing 92. 

An EPCR statement read: “The Stade Francais Paris replacement hooker, Tolu Latu, has been suspended for eleven weeks following an independent disciplinary hearing by video conference arising from his club’s Heineken Champions Cup round of 16 first leg match against Racing 92 at Stade Jean Bouin.

“Latu was sent off by the referee, Luke Pearce (England), in the 67th minute of the match for making contact with the Racing 92 second row, Baptiste Chouzenoux, in the air in a dangerous manner in contravention of law 9.17.

“The independent disciplinary committee comprising Jennifer Donovan (Ireland, chair), Mitchell Read (England) and Tony Wheat (Ireland) considered video imagery of the incident and heard evidence and submissions from the player, who accepted the red card decision, from the Stade Francais Paris director general, Thomas Lombard, and from the EPCR disciplinary officer, Liam McTiernan. 

“The committee upheld the red decision, finding that Latu had committed an intentional act of foul play that warranted a red card. It then determined that the offending was at the top end of World Rugby’s sanctions and twelve weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point. 

“The committee decided to reduce the sanction by two weeks given the player’s guilty plea and apology, and it also decided to add one week to the sanction due to the player’s poor disciplinary record before imposing an eleven-week suspension. 

“The exact date when Latu will be free to play will be determined once his playing schedule can be clarified. Both he and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.”

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