In a Lions tour where the only surprise would be no more surprises, the news of Kyle Sinckler being cited was quite, well, surprising.
No one had picked up on the Lions prop’s alleged bite of Springbok lock Franco Mostert on social media.
Instead, the attention was aimed at Stuart Hogg.
Or Cheslin Kolbe. Or Maro Itoje. Or Faf de Klerk.
You get the picture.
But it was Sinckler alone who will face a disciplinary hearing this week – with the prop potentially facing a three-month ban.
Under World Rugby law 10.4, biting carries a lower-end charge of 12 weeks with a maximum sanction of 208 weeks, meaning Sinckler could also miss England’s autumn international matches.
The incident occurred in the 64th minute of the second Test, shortly after Sinckler had come on as a replacement.
South Africa prop Vincent Koch carries the ball into a ruck where Mostert comes into contact with Sinckler.
Kyle Sinckler makes the tackle on Vincent Koch, with Franco Mostert in support
On closer inspection of the clip, Mostert’s arm is placed across the face of Sinckler – which is seemingly where the bite is alleged to have taken place.
However, from this angle, it’s impossible to draw any firm conclusions on whether Sinckler did bite Mostert or not.
It’s important to note that the citing commissioner will have had access to footage and camera angles that were not broadcast to the general public.
This point of the ruck is where it would appear that Mostert’s arm is across Sinckler’s face – the likely point for an alleged bite to have occured
Afterwards, the second-row is seen getting up from the ruck and looking closely at his forearm.
After getting up from the ruck, Mostert can be seen checking his arm
At the next stoppage in play, the referee Ben O’Keeffe is heard telling Siya Kolisi, the South Africa captain: “Siya, I understand what Franco said but I can’t do anything about that right now.
“If there is anything, it will be dealt with after the game if we need to… yes, we will.”
Were he to to be found guilty, Sinckler’ previous disciplinary record at club level could play some part in the hearing as well. When at Harlequins, he accepted a seven-week ban for eye gouging Northampton’s Michael Paterson in 2017.
He was also banned for two weeks at the start of this year after swearing at referee Karl Dickson during Bristol Bears’ Premiership win over Exeter.
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