FYLDE rugby club suffered a blow today when they learned that second rower Gareth Rawlings’ suspension, which already stretches to the New Year, will now be even longer.
Rawlings was initially banned for 27 weeks for an off-field indiscretion, while playing for England Counties on a tour of East Africa in the summer – but it was increased by three weeks at a reconvened disciplinary panel last night.
A statement issued by the Rugby Football Union said: “The panel ruled that mitigation allowed in view of the player’s previous disciplinary record was incorrectly calculated and that the suspension should be increased to 30 weeks. He can play again on January 24, 2013.”
It is understood that the original decision to ban Rawlings for 27 weeks was taken after failing to take into account a sending-off on his record.
Rawlings was brought to the hearing at the Haydock Thistle Hotel, St Helens, “for conduct prejudicial to the interests of the Union and/or the game.” The added ban is a setback to Fylde, who have missed Rawlings’ power and aggression in the line-out and at the breakdown in the early weeks of the campaign.