Richard Booth QC, instructed by Angus Hetherington, Legal Counsel in Discipline at the Rugby Football Union, represented Dr Nigel Rayner, England U20 Team Doctor, before the Six Nations Disciplinary Committee on 21st April 2022.
Dr Rayner faced charges relating to his conduct following an aerial collision between opposing wingers towards the end of the Italy U20 v England U20 Six Nations Rugby Union match in Treviso on 11th February 2022. The case involved consideration of the Head Injury Assessment (HIA) Protocol. Dr Rayner made extensive admissions of misconduct. In the light of these admissions, an allegation (consistently denied by Dr Rayner) that Dr Rayner had sworn at match officials was not pursued at the hearing.
The Disciplinary Committee (chaired by Roddy Dunlop QC), having heard oral evidence from Dr Rayner, found that he was extremely remorseful for his actions and had demonstrated clear insight into what had happened and the need to ensure that there was no recurrence. The Committee found that he had an impeccable record and had made an early acknowledgment of culpability. Full mitigation of 50% was deemed appropriate from the entry point of 8 weeks’ suspension, leaving a total sanction of a suspension of 4 weeks from any involvement in the game of Rugby Union. The Committee found that 3 of those 4 weeks had already been served by virtue of the fact that Dr Rayner had been stood down from the final 3 rounds of the U20 Six Nations, leaving only 1 further week of suspension to be served.