Rees opts against appeal
January 13, 2011
Wales scrum-half Richie Rees will not appeal against a 12-week ban © Getty Images
Cardiff Blues scrum-half Richie Rees will not appeal against a 12-week ban for making contact with the eyes of Northampton hooker Dylan Hartley, ending his hopes of representing Wales in the Six Nations.
Rees was cited following an incident in the Blues' Heineken Cup loss to the Saints at Cardiff City Stadium on December 19 and appeared before an ERC disciplinary panel in Dublin on January 6.
The 27-year-old pleaded not guilty to the complaint on the basis that any contact had been accidental but independent judicial officer Pat Barriscale (Ireland) reviewed the evidence, including several angles of the incident from television footage and medical statements relating to the injuries sustained by Hartley, and found the Welshman guilty.
Rees has played nine Tests for Wales since making his bow against England in last season's Six Nations opener.
"Having sought legal advice, with the support of the Blues and WRU, we have decided not to appeal against the decision," he said. "Naturally I am disappointed at the outcome of the hearing and to be suspended for 12 weeks. Missing out on the Six Nations and some crucial games for the Cardiff Blues is hugely disappointing and hard to accept.
"I felt it was worth looking at the possibility of an appeal as I am desperate to play for the Blues and Wales and naturally feel frustrated and disappointed at the outcome.
"However, I will now be concentrating on training hard in anticipation of the Magners League run in for the Blues in March and April and hopefully can still be part of the Rugby World Cup preparations with Wales."
Wales begin their Six Nations campaign against England on February 4 and Warren Gatland will now be on the lookout for backup to Mike Phillips, with Sale's Dwayne Peel currently approaching his best form in the Aviva Premiership.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.