Portugal winger Vincent Pinto has copped a three-match suspension after his red card against Wales in the Rugby World Cup.
Pinto was given his marching orders in the 76th minute of Portugal’s first World Cup fixture since 2007.
The 24-year-old leapt into the air to field a high ball, and after catching the ball, he stuck his foot out and struck Wales winger Josh Adams in the face.
Referee Karl Dickson reviewed the incident with TMO Marius Jonker and issued a yellow card before referring the incident to the Foul Play Review Bunker – which upgraded the yellow card to a red card.
The sending-off was largely slammed, with former Ireland international Brian O’Driscoll posting his reaction on X, formerly Twitter.
“Huge sympathy for the Portuguese winger Pinto’s red card. A body weight recalibration is all it was. If misjudging the flight of a high kick is a crime worthy of a red card I’m stumped. Have seen other versions of players protecting themselves with legs out; this was not that!” O’Driscoll’s post read.
Former England fly-half Andy Goode added: “Worst decision I’ve ever seen to give a red card to Pinto after the bunker review. He’s falling backwards and lost balance whilst looking the other way! What the actual f**k?!”
Worst decision I’ve ever seen to give a red card to Pinto after the bunker review. He’s falling backwards and lost balance whilst looking the other way! What the actual f**k?! pic.twitter.com/zDSW8E9wTs
— Andy Goode (@AndyGoode10) September 16, 2023
Vincent Pinto banned
Pinto attended an independent Disciplinary Committee hearing for an offence contrary to Law 9.11: “Players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others…” as a result of a review by the Foul Play Review Official.
The player has been suspended for three matches – two if he completes the Coaching Intervention Programme.
The independent Disciplinary Committee was chaired by Jean-Noël Couraud (France), joined by former international player Leon Lloyd (England) and former international coach Frank Hadden (Scotland).
The player denied that he had committed an act of foul play and therefore challenged the Foul Play Review Official’s decision that the act warranted a red card.
A World Rugby confirmed the suspension; the statement read:
“Having considered all the available evidence, including the application of World Rugby’s Head Contact Process, the submissions by the player and his representative, and all available camera angles and technology, the independent Committee determined that:
A reckless act of foul play had occurred;
The player’s actions involved poor decision-making and a lack of care for the opponent player, which placed the opponent player in a dangerous position;
Head contact had occurred, and the degree of danger was high;
There were no mitigating factors present to bring the sanction down from a red card
On that basis and in considering the sanction, the independent Committee applied World Rugby’s mandatory minimum mid-range entry point for foul play, resulting in head contact (six matches). Taking all considerations into account, including the player’s remorse and excellent disciplinary record, the independent Committee determined a maximum mitigation of 50 per cent.”
He will miss the clash against Georgia this weekend as well as the match against Australia.
He will be available for the clash against Fiji on 8 October when he completes the Coaching intervention programme. Pinto can still appeal the decision.
Rafael Simoes escapes ban
Meanwhile, Portugal’s Rafael Simoes has escaped a ban after he was cited for a dangerous tackle in the same match.
Like with Pinto, Simoes accepted that he had committed an act of foul play but submitted that it did not reach the red card threshold.
The independent Disciplinary Committee agreed with Simoes that the degree of force was not sufficiently high to meet the red card threshold, and the citing was, therefore not upheld.
READ MORE: Rugby World Cup law discussion: Delightful dummies, funny Falcons and counter-rucking
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