Hughes could be in hot water after ‘joke’ tweet
NATHAN Hughes’ mysteriously aborted disciplinary hearing took a fresh twist when it emerged that the number eight had tweeted “What a joke” upon learning the verdict.
A three-man panel convened in Coventry on Wednesday night to investigate his citing for punching while on club duty for Wasps only to postpone issuing a judgement in highly peculiar circumstances.
It now appears that the tweet, which has since been deleted, could be the reason for the delay pending a second hearing within seven days.
Hughes’ case opened at 7pm and it was at 8.37pm that the Fijian-born England number eight took to social media to voice his frustration at the outcome, which has not been made public at the time.
If he is to be reprimanded for his comment on Twitter, he is likely to face additional sanction on the grounds of conduct. A Rugby Football Union statement said only that a delay was necessary “in order to deal with an issue that arose during the evening”. When asked for clarification on the issue in question, the RFU declined to comment
Hughes is unable to play until a verdict is reached, almost certainly ruling him out of tonight’s Champions Cup clash with Leinster as it is unlikely the panel can reconvene before the trip to Dublin.
Hughes was cited for punching Lewis Ludlow in the head while being pinned to the floor by the Gloucester flanker in the final minute of Wasps’ 35-21 defeat at the Ricoh Arena last Saturday.
Ludlow, meanwhile, has been banned for four weeks by the RFU disciplinary panel following his own misdemeanour.
The flanker, in outstanding form for the Cherry & Whites so far this season, will be unavailable for his side’s return to the Champions Cup against Castres this Sunday after being found to have stamped or trampled Wasps back Elliot Daly last weekend.
His suspension by the RFU, which ends on November 6, means Gloucester may have to turn to hooker Franco Marais as back row cover, where he has played before.
South Africans Ruan Ackermann and Jaco Kriel are both out injured, while Gareth Evans and Will Safe have not been registered for Europe.