‘What a joke’: Wasps back row Hughes still suspended for Leinster trip as disciplinary panel delay decision

WASPS AND ENGLAND number eight Nathan Hughes has been left in disciplinary limbo as his case was postponed late last night.

Hughes, cited for striking Gloucester flanker Lewis Ludlow (who has been banned for a separate incident), attended a four-hour hearing in Coventry last night. 

During the course of the hearing, Hughes tweeted, and soon deleted, “What a joke” to his 7,000 followers.

At 11.22pm, the RFU issued a statement to say no decision had been reached by the panel chaired by Gareth Graham and the unusual measure of postponement had been taken.

“The independent panel appointed to deal with this case will reconvene in not less than seven days in order to deal with an issue that arose during the evening,” Graham said in the statement. 

“No judgment will be issued by the panel in this period and the panel direct that the player, Wasps Rugby and the RFU are to make no further comment until the case has concluded.

“The player remains suspended until the conclusion of the matter.”

Hughes tackled by Exeter’s Sam Simmonds last month. Source: David Davies

If found guilty of striking under Law 9.12 Hughes could be hit with a mid-range entry point sanction of six weeks suspension, leaving him in danger of missing not only Wasps’ early Heineken Champions Cup outings but also England’s November Tests against South Africa and New Zealand.

Meanwhile, the player he is accused of striking, Ludlow, will miss Gloucester’s trip to Thomond Park next weekend after being banned for trampling on Wasps star Elliott Daly.

Ludlow during the Challenge Cup final. Source: Adam Davy

The flanker was hit with the mid-range sanction of a six-week ban and though he did not accept the charge, the disciplinary panel took into account a clean record over the past four years and his remorse.

“The panel accepted that this was a dynamic situation,” said Graham, “the player knew that there were bodies on the floor and, in counter-rucking, attempted to step over them.

“In so doing, he ran the risk that he may commit and act of foul play by making contact with the head or body of an opposition player. By stepping on the opposition player, his actions fell squarely within the definition of a reckless act under the RFU regulations.

“The panel found that this act of foul play passed the red chard threshold.”

Ludlow will be free to return to action for Gloucester on 6 November.

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