Five-week ban for London Irish No. 8 Hala'ufiaBy Alan Manicom
December 05, 2012
Chris Hala’Ufia has been banned for five weeks after being found guilty of making a dangerous tackle in London Irish’s 15-9 defeat by London Welsh at Kassam Stadium on Saturday.
Exiles’ No. 8 was sent off in the 10th minute after being judged by referee JP Doyle to have executed a tip tackle on Welsh’s Seb Jewell.
Hala’ufia attended an RFU disciplinary hearing in Bristol yesterday and was supported in his case by the club’s director of rugby Brian Smith and forwards coach Glenn Delaney.
Smith had insisted after the match: “Chris hits, grabs his arms, the power of the impact means the player carrying the ball bounced up and backwards and Chris followed through.
“I just thought it was a very good hit.
"I won’t have any problem defending Chris because I thought it was a very good tackle, but that is only my opinion.
“I have to say the ref has his opinion as well.”
The disciplinary panel, though, found Hala’ufia guilty and have suspended him until January 7.
He will miss Irish’s two Amlin Cup games against Gloucester as well as Aviva Premiership matches at home to Leicester Tigers, away to Harlequins and away to Gloucester.
He will be eligible again for Exiles’ Amlin Cup game away to Mont-de-Marsan which is due to be scheduled for the second weekend of January.
It is Hala’ufia’s sixth ban in three years.
Last season he was suspended for a total of 18 weeks and featured in just nine games.
Meanwhile, former second-row forward Nick Kennedy is interested in returning to the club.
The ex-England star left for Toulon in the summer, but has found game time limited at the French Top 14 club.
It has also been reported that Exiles are keen on Worcester Warriors fly-half Joe Carlisle.
But Steve Shingler could be on the move back to Wales after failing to command a regular first-team place at Irish this season.