Heineken Cup: Jared Payne of Ulster suspended for two weeks for red card against Saracens
Last Updated: 09/04/14 2:54pm
Saracens players confront Jared Payne after his challenge on Alex Goode
Ulster full-back Jared Payne has been handed a two-week suspension after he was sent off early on during Saturday's Heineken Cup quarter-final loss to Saracens.
Payne was controversially red carded in the fifth-minute for an alleged dangerous charge on his Saracens opposite number Alex Goode, who had to be stretchered off the pitch.
Ulster were left to play with 14 men for the rest of the match and lost 17-15 after putting up a brave fight.
An independent disciplinary hearing was convened on Wednesday in Dublin and the decision to send Payne off was upheld after independent Judicial Officer Simon Thomas heard evidence and submissions from Payne, Ulster Director of Rugby David Humphreys, team manager David Millar and ERC Disciplinary Officer Roger O'Connor.
It was decided Payne had contravened Law 10.4(i) which concerns tackling, tapping, pushing or pulling an opponent jumping for the ball in open play.
An ERC statement read: "In upholding the red card decision, the Judicial Officer determined that Payne had committed a reckless act.
"(It was) concluded that the offence was at the low end of the IRB sanctions for offences of this nature and three weeks was selected as the appropriate entry point.
"As there were no aggravating factors, and taking into account the player's clean disciplinary record and his exemplary conduct at the hearing, the Judicial Officer reduced the sanction by the maximum of one week and imposed a suspension of two weeks.
"He commented that the case had been a particularly challenging one and conveyed his thanks to the Ulster Rugby representatives for the quality of their defence during the hearing."
Payne will be free to play again on Monday, 21 April.