Exeter Uni rugby player suspended from playing after punching a Cardiff player

Ollie Leatherbarrow has received an eight week suspension

Exeter Uni BUCS Rugby player Ollie Leatherbarrow has been suspended from playing for eight weeks after striking a Cardiff player at an away game earlier this month.

A fight broke out at the end of the match, when Leatherbarrow ran 20m towards the Cardiff team and struck the Cardiff player on the face twice, an official England Rugby report says. It says the Cardiff player fell to the floor, and then Leatherbarrow took hold of his collar “in an aggressive manner” and dragged him across the floor.

20-year-old Leatherbarrow is captain of the Exeter uni rugby team, coaches Exeter fresher teams, and has played for Exeter Chiefs in the Premiership Cup.

The Cardiff player was left with bruising to the left side of his face, around his eye.

To watch a full video of the incident, head to our Instagram story @thetab.exeter

The Cardiff Tab obtained exclusive footage of the fight from Cardiff University TV. In the video, one man can be seen getting trapped under the wave of people involved in the brawl and has to be dragged away by another person.

In the official hearing last week, Leatherbarrow admitted the charge, but claimed the player intended to provoke him by allegedly gesturing “2-0” and mouthing “have that you c*nt” towards him, taunting Exeter’s second loss against Cardiff this year.

He said that as he approached the Cardiff player, there was pushing and shoving and they both ended up on the floor because of the actions of a different player, but Leatherbarrow said he couldn’t remember what happened on the floor.

However, the England Rugby panel said it was unlikely, although not impossible, that he could have heard this from a distance of over 22m away and over the sound of the Cardiff team celebrating.

“[Leatherbarrow’s] apparent inability to remember anything that took place once he and the victim came into physical contact is also something that the Panel had difficulty accepting”, the report said. It also said that whilst it may have been prompted by his annoyance at the Cardiff player celebrating the win, his behaviour “was utterly inappropriate and unacceptable”.

Leatherbarrow said he regretted his actions and should have ignored the Cardiff player: “[He] stated that he regretted the altercation and accepts that he should have ignored the victim’s actions. He confirmed that he had had no previous issues with the victim in the previous fixture between the two sides.”

To watch a full video of the incident, head to our Instagram story @thetab.exeter

In the details of the hearing that have been released, the panel ultimately decided that although Leatherbarrow “was polite and amenable” during the hearing process and regretted the incident, “he did not express clear regret for his actions nor did he seek to apologise for them, either directly to the victim or more generally.

“This gave the unfortunate impression that [Leatherbarrow] struggled to understand the seriousness of his actions or to view his actions as plainly wrong, inappropriate and unacceptable”, the report says.

It concluded that he deliberately grabbed the Cardiff player and “punched him at least once in the head”.

Leatherbarrow will miss important games against Swansea University (Super BUCS), Durham University (Super BUCS), Bath University (Super BUCS), and London Irish (Premiership Cup). He will also miss the Super BUCS quarter final, semi final, and final if Exeter qualify.

The Tab Exeter has contacted Ollie Leatherbarrow for comment.

Featured image via Instagram

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