Aviva Premiership
London Welsh hearing decision deferred
ESPN Staff
March 5, 2013
London Welsh's Tyson Keats watches on, Saracens v London Welsh, Aviva Premiership, Allianz Park, London, England, March 3, 2013
London Welsh insist no fault lies with the player in question - scrum-half Tyson Keats © PA Photos

London Welsh face an anxious wait to find out if they will be punished for fielding an ineligible player after a Rugby Football Union competition hearing deferred their ruling until a later date.

The issue relates to the registration of scrum-half Tyson Keats, who has made 13 Premiership appearances for the Exiles this season since joining them from now-defunct Italian side Aironi. The New Zealand-born Keats was reportedly registered as English due to the fact that he had an ancestry visa as one of his grandparents were born in the UK. London Welsh are understood to have amended his details at a later date and argued at the hearing that there is no difference between the two classifications as the player is qualified to play for England either way.

The Guardian reports that precedent dictates that Premiership clubs are docked a point for each registration irregularity and as Keats is understood to have made nine league appearances before his registration was updated, the club, currently three points above basement side Sale Sharks, could be hit with a massive nine-point reduction that would seriously jeopardise their top flight status with just five rounds of the regular season remaining.

The matter was brought to the RFU's attention by the club following an internal investigation earlier this month and the RFU have also said that London Welsh's former rugby manager Mike Scott is the subject of a separate disciplinary hearing relating to the registration of the same player.

A panel consisting of Jeremy Summers (chairman), Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty and Peter Budge heard their case with an RFU statement detailing that they "will now consider their decision which will be communicated in due course."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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