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Welsh rugby player banned for eight weeks for racist comments

A Welsh rugby player has been banned for eight weeks for making a racist comment to an opponent.

Credit: PA

The player from Blaenau Gwent side Trefil, who has not been named by the Welsh Rugby Union, will be able to resume playing from March 23 as he was already suspended by his club.

The incident took place during a League 3 East Central C clash between Trefil and Llanrumney in Cardiff in the first week of January this year.

At the time, Llanrumney claimed one of their players, centre Wayne Dacruz, had been racially abused, being called a “black c***”.

That resulted in their players leaving the field in protest, with the game coming to an early end.

They reported the incident to the WRU and called for strong action to be taken.

A disciplinary panel decided to reduce the ban from 12 weeks to eight, on the grounds that the Trefil player had been significantly provoked and it was “out of character” for him.

In a statement, the Union said there is "no place for abuse of any kind in rugby union."

The player had been sent off for an act of verbal abuse towards an opponent which involved a reference to the opponent’s race.

Having considered evidence from players belonging to both clubs, the match referee, and following submissions made during the hearing, the panel concluded the offence met the elements of the mid-range suspension under the World Rugby sanctions table which carries a suspension of 12 weeks.

The panel then reduced the suspension by four weeks due to mitigation factors which included evidence demonstrating the behaviour had resulted following 'significant provocation' of the player, evidence suggesting the behaviour was out of character for the player and the fact the player has a good disciplinary record over his 20 year playing career.

In determining the date of expiry of the suspension, the panel took into account the interim suspension that had been imposed by Trefil RFC since January 4, 2020, and in light of forthcoming scheduled matches, the player is suspended from participating in the game of rugby union until up to and including March 22, 2020.

He is therefore free to play from Monday March 23, 2020 onwards.

There is no place for abuse of any kind in rugby union.

– Welsh Rugby Union Statement
The game between Llanrumney and Trefil ended after players walked off the field.

After the incident, Llanrumney secretary Patrick Cachia said ''racism isn't welcome'':

We weren’t coming back after that. It wasn’t going to happen. We wanted to make a statement that racism is not welcome in rugby. For that to come out like that, I was shocked.

I have sent my report about it into the Union. They have got to make a statement. They have got to stamp it out now or it’s going to carry on. It shouldn’t happen. Fair dos to the Trefil coach and a number of their players. They were apologetic to us afterwards.

– PATRICK CACHIA, LLANRUMNEY SECRETARY

Gwent valley club Trefil took swift action at the time, suspending their accused player from all club activities pending a full internal investigation and the subsequent investigation from the WRU.

“We as a club do not condone any derogatory abuse in any way and will act accordingly to uphold the good name of our sport,” they said.