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Saracens’ Billy Vunipola is now eligible to play after his red card was overturned.


The penalty card given to Billy Vunipola during Saracens’ match against the Bulls on Saturday in South Africa has been reversed. This means that the No 8 player for England will be able to participate in the upcoming European game against Connacht on Saturday.

Vunipola received a red card from Italian referee Andrea Piardi in the second half for making a dangerous hit to the head of Bulls player Cameron Hanekom. The 31-year-old appeared before an independent disciplinary panel via video link and admitted to committing a foul, but disputed that it deserved a red card.

The European Professional Club Rugby organization stated that Vunipola had committed a foul act. However, they concluded that the contact with Hanekom’s head did not have enough force to justify a red card, so the red card was reversed. Vunipola is now able to play without delay, but EPCR has the option to contest the decision.

After the verdict, Mark McCall, the director of Saracens rugby team, expressed his thoughts by stating, “We are pleased with the decision and believe it was the appropriate one. The panel carefully considered all the evidence and concluded that a yellow card, not a red, was warranted. We are grateful to have Billy back on the team right away.”

In the meantime, Ben Earl, who plays with Vunipola on Saracens, is expected to return to playing before next month’s Champions Cup matches.

The English player on the side of the field, who performed exceptionally well at the World Cup, suffered a knee injury while getting ready for the Premiership match against Harlequins in November. Earl departed the field with crutches and had an operation, but he is steadily improving.

McCall expressed optimism that Ben will return in the near future. He mentioned that there is a possibility of him playing against Newcastle on December 30th, and most likely the following week against Leicester.

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The accusation against Bristol’s Kalaveti Ravouvou for a tackle on Lyon’s Alexandre Tchaptchet was rejected, and his yellow card was not changed to a red card.

Source: theguardian.com