Currie Cup
'Big Dog' handed seven-match ban for biting
September 5, 2013

Australian rugby player Rory Arnold has been banned for seven games after he was found guilty of biting Free State Cheetahs hooker Ethienne Reynecke in a Currie Cup match in Bloemfontein at the weekend.

Reynecke complained to referee Craig Joubert, who handled the IRB Rugby World Cup 2011 final. Joubert saw the bite marks and referred the 62nd-minute incident to the television match official (TMO). The TMO said after studying replays that Arnold had bitten the Cheetahs hooker, and Joubert sent off the Wagga Wagga-born Australian from the Gold Coast Breakers club.

Arnold appeared before a South African Rugby Union disciplinary hearing in Cape Town on Tuesday, when he pleaded not guilty to the charge. He said in his defence that the downward pressure on his head, while trying to cross the try line with his mouth open, had caused the marks on the arm of the Cheetahs player.

Judicial officer Peter Ingwersen found Reynecke's initial reaction to have been instructive, due to his spontaneous response to withdraw his arm and report the matter to the referee. Ingwersen said that he had found Arnold guilty and sanctioned the player "on the balance of probabilities and relying particularly on the victim's immediate and spontaneous reactions and the doctor's evidence".

Arnold, 23, known as "Big Dog"', played for the Combined New South Wales-Queensland Country side against the touring British & Irish Lions this year.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd with AAP

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