ONE-TIME ENGLAND star Andy Hazell has been hit by a 14-week suspension today.
The Gloucester flanker was dismissed for striking an opponent during his team’s Amlin Challenge Cup victory over Mont-de-Marsan in France this month.
The 34-year-old former England international pleaded guilty in front of an independent judicial officer but claimed that he came under extreme provocation before lashing out at the Frenchman who had come on as a substitute.
The Premiership club provided photographic evidence of marks around Hazell’s eyes, but no citing complaints were subsequently made to tournament organisers ERC by match commissioner John West, who could not find sufficient video evidence of foul play.
In a statement, the ERC said: “The judicial officer determined that Hazell had intentionally struck Ormaechea with both the fist and the knee.
“Having also determined that any suspensions he would impose for the offences would run concurrently, and as striking with the knee carries greater penalties than striking with the fist under the IRB recommended sanctions for offences committed within the playing enclosure, the judicial officer decided on a top-end entry point of 16 weeks.
“Taking into account aggravating factors, he added a further two weeks given Hazell’s disciplinary record and his failure to uphold the image of the game.”