Former New Zealand 7s player George Tilsley has copped a hefty suspension for what a French disciplinary committee described as a brutal gesture towards Morgan Parra – stepping on his hand at a ruck – in a recent Top 14 match between Perpignan and Stade Francais.
The midfielder/winger Tilsley clashed with Parra in the 68th minute of the January 28 match, an incident that resulted in the red-carding of the Perpignan player who is in his fourth season at the club following stints at Bordeaux and Agen.
That sending-off resulted in a midweek disciplinary hearing and a 12-game ban was initially proposed for Tilsley before it was reduced to seven, a sanction that will see the New Zealander requalify for Perpignan on April 24.
A statement read: “George Tilsley was found responsible for ‘brutality’ and more particularly for ‘trampling or stepping on someone’. It is the higher degree of the scale of gravity which was retained, that is to say, a suspension of 12 weeks.
“After taking into account the mitigating circumstances (admission of guilt, driving before and during the hearing, no disciplinary record and expression of remorse), the sanction was reduced by five weeks. Consequently, Tilsley is suspended for seven weeks. As of February 8, and taking into account the Perpignan fixture schedule, Tilsley will be requalified on April 24.”
The loss of Tilsley through suspension will be a heavy blow to Perpignan and their hopes of Top 14 survival. The soon-to-be 31-year-old utility back had started in 10 of his 14 French league appearances this season and scored four tries.
His club is involved in a relegation battle where they are currently bottom of the table following the loss of 11 of their 17 matches so far and Tilsley won’t be available again for selection until the early May game at Lyon.