England flanker banned for kneeing Canadian prop Jake Ilnicki in the face

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LONDON — England flanker Lewis Ludlow has been banned for four matches for kneeing Canada prop Jake Ilnicki in the face during England's 70-14 rugby win last Saturday at Twickenham.

The ruling was made following an appearance before an independent judicial committee via video link after the England captain was cited for foul play.

A bloody Ilnicki had to leave in the 30th minute for treatment after taking a Ludlow knee to the nose at the breakdown. The incident was reviewed by the television match official with Ludlow subsequently sin-binned.

Canada coach Kingsley Jones said after the match the act deserved harsher punishment.

"In my book, it's contact to the head and it's a red card," he said.

The 29-year-old Ilnicki, a native of Williams Lake, B.C., who plays for the Seattle Seawolves, did not return to the match.

The disciplinary committee ruled the foul play was not intentional but a reckless act. And while it acknowledged Ludlow's admission of foul play, it noted he did not have a clean disciplinary record.

The ban could be reduced to three games upon completion of World Rugby’s Head Contact Process Coaching Intervention program, aimed at modifying techniques that contribute to foul play.

Ludlow, who plays his club rugby for Gloucester, has the right to appeal.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 15, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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