Irish-born flanker John Quill has been banned for three matches and will likely miss the rest of the United States' World Cup campaign after he was sent off in his side's Pool C defeat to England in Kobe yesterday.
Youghal native Quill, who qualifies for the US through his mother, was shown the first red card of the tournament by referee Nic Berry when his shoulder made contact with the head of England's Owen Farrell in a no-arms tackle with about 10 minutes remaining in the match. The incident sparked a melee.
"The committee applied World Rugby's mandatory minimum mid-range entry point, which was introduced in 2017 to... protect player welfare, deter high contact and prevent head injuries," World Rugby said in a statement after the hearing.
"This resulted in a starting point of a six-week suspension.
"Having acknowledged Quill's good character and conduct at the hearing, the committee reduced the six-week entry point by three weeks, resulting in a sanction of three weeks, which equates to three matches in the context of the Rugby World Cup."
The United States are unlikely to advance to the knockout stage with three tier-one teams - England, France and Argentina - also in the pool and only two places available for the quarter-finals.
The Eagles next face France in Fukuoka on 2 October before they meet Argentina on 9 October and finish the pool phase against fellow tier-two side Tonga on 13 October.
England could lose a player for disciplinary reasons after centre Piers Francis was cited for a dangerous tackle on the USA's Will Hooley.
Francis caught Hooley with a shoulder-led challenge to the head in the opening seconds of the 45-7 victory.
The Northampton playmaker's hearing will take place in Tokyo on a date yet to be determined and he could face a significant ban if the citing is upheld.
Meanwhile, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has defended Reece Hodge over the high tackle that ruled the winger out of the rest of the World Cup pool phase and said Australia might still appeal his ban.
Cheika said he was determined that the affair would not distract the Australians, who were finalists at the last World Cup, before their crunch Pool D showdown with Wales in Tokyo on Sunday.
Hodge was suspended for three World Cup matches on Wednesday after being found guilty of a dangerous tackle on Fijian flanker Peceli Yato in the Pool D opener in Sapporo last Saturday.
He has the right to appeal the ban within 48 hours of receiving the judgement on Thursday.
"We talked about it," said Cheika. "No one in the team believes that what Reece did met the red card threshold because of the framework that they have in place. At the end of the day it will be up to Reece predominantly, see how he feels about it.
"There is a bit of us versus everyone else and we know that," he added. "So we are not going to let it derail us. We'll just suck it up and get focused on what’s important, and that is the match on Sunday."
World Rugby (WR) has made much of its determination at this World Cup to enforce rules aimed at removing tackles that involve contact with an opponent's head from the game.
The full judgement on Hodge's tackle was released on Thursday and said the winger had admitted that he had "no effective knowledge of WR’s 'Decision making framework for high tackles'; had not been trained on it; was not across it".
That, the disciplinary panel said, was a matter of "general concern".
Cheika said the framework, which offers guidelines to referees to help them decide whether a high tackle is a red card offence, was to help match officials, not for players.
"I'm not sure where that chat is coming from or why, but I just want to get it out there that we don't need the framework to tell us where to tackle," he said.
"We're not teaching anyone to tackle anywhere else except the middle where we can dislodge a ball."
He also said that a nervous Hodge might have not answered as well as he could have when questioned about the framework in the hearing.
"When people are asking you questions and you’ve done nothing wrong, you’re nervous," Cheika said.
"So you may not have all the answers at the tip of your tongue like that either."
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