Ox Nche’s Suspension Confirmed


The Cell C Sharks prop, Ox Nche, has been suspended for three weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing arising from his club’s Heineken Champions Cup, Round 1 match against Harlequins at Hollywoodbets Kings Park.

Nche was sent off by the referee, Tual Trainini (France), in the 59th minute of the match for tackling the Harlequins hooker, Jack Walker, in a dangerous manner in contravention of Law 9.13.

Law 9.13 A player must not tackle an opponent dangerously: Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 9.13 relating to dangerous tackling carries the following sanction entry points - Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-range: 6 weeks; Top end: 10 to 52 weeks.

An independent Disciplinary Committee comprising Declan Goodwin (Wales), Chair, Samantha Hillas KC (England) and Martyn Wood (England) considered video imagery of the incident and heard submissions from Nche, who did not accept the red card decision, from the player’s legal representative, Attie Heyns, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.

Michael Horak, the Cell C Sharks High-Performance Manager, and André Barnard, the Cell C Sharks Head of Team Culture, were also present on the video link.

The committee upheld the red card decision, finding that in executing the tackle in a dangerous manner, Nche had made contact with Walker’s head. It then determined that the offending was at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and six weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point.

As the player has a good disciplinary record, and as there were no aggravating factors, it was decided to grant him the full 50% mitigation and the committee therefore reduced the sanction by three weeks before imposing a three-week suspension.

Nche is free to play on Monday, 2 January 2023, however, if he applies for and successfully completes a World Rugby Coaching Intervention, he will be free to play on Monday, 26 December 2022.

Both he and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.