HomeSportsJack Nowell available for Exeter's cup semi-final against La Rochelle after escaping...

Jack Nowell available for Exeter’s cup semi-final against La Rochelle after escaping ban

Jack Nowell will be available for Exeter’s Heineken Champions Cup semi-final against La Rochelle after escaping a ban on a misconduct charge stemming from his criticism of a referee on social media.

Nowell was charged with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the Rugby Football Union and the game after Chiefs team-mate Olly Woodburn received a second yellow card in Sunday’s 62-19 Premier League loss to Gallagher. against Leicester.

Woodburn had pounced on Chris Ashton on the floor and upon seeing referee Karl Dickson’s call, Nowell said in a since-deleted tweet: “I’m really in shock, like in shock. What the hell is going on? That’s one of the worst decisions I’ve ever seen. EVER.”

The England wing accepted the charge in a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday night and was fined £10,000, meaning it is free to take part in the European clash with champions La Rochelle in Bordeaux on April 30.

The fine will be donated to a charity and Nowell, who has just recovered from the knee injury that forced him to miss the game against Leicester, will also have to take a refereeing course.

Having previously been penalized for a deliberate hit, Dickson sent off Woodburn for a second yellow card offense awarded for diving on Ashton in an attempt to avoid a try.

Other injured Exeter players also took to social media to express their frustration, with Luke Cowan-Dickie tweeting that “rugby had lost its way” while Henry Slade said “I’m at a loss for words”.

However, in a statement explaining the disciplinary panel’s verdict, it became clear that Dickson had made the right decision.

“World Rugby has confirmed that professional match official Karl Dickson correctly applied the law during the Leicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs game, which saw an attempted penalty and a yellow card,” the statement read.

“Rule 13.4 is clear that players cannot fall on players on the ground and tackle law 14.8 says that players making a tackle must come from the direction of their own goal line and remain foot”.

By avoiding suspension, Nowell will be able to face the Exeter showdown headlined by their drive for European honours: their final games for the club before departing for the Top 14 next season.

Panel chairman Matthew O’Grady said: “Debate over on-field decisions by players and officials is an inevitable part of rugby and professional rugby players have a right to express themselves about the sport they play.

“However, they are not exempt from the consequences of such an expression when they breach their professional obligation not to act to the detriment of the interests of the game by disrespecting the referees, their decisions and their authority, especially when that expression contributes to a ‘ lots on’ of public comments about a match official or match officials.

“Respect for match officials, even if we don’t agree with their decisions, especially if we don’t agree with their decisions, is a fundamental part of rugby union. It is not a value that we can turn on and off as we choose.

“Mr. Nowell accepted your tweet, which was viewed hundreds of thousands of times, it was not a fair comment and it crossed the line of what is acceptable for someone with your considerable status in the game.”



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