Exeter Chiefs’ Jack Nowell has been fined £10,000 (US$12,400) and directed to undertake a referees’ course after the England wing criticised a Premiership referee’s decision on Twitter, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) said on Thursday (Apr 20).
Nowell was charged with committing “conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game” after tweeting criticism of a decision to send off Exeter’s Olly Woodburn during their 62-19 defeat at Leicester Tigers on Sunday.
Woodburn had been sent off in the 42nd minute after receiving a second yellow card when he dived at Chris Ashton as the Leicester wing attempted to score at the corner, with referee Karl Dickson awarding a penalty try.
Nowell, who did not play in the game, wrote in a tweet that has since been deleted: “I’m actually in shock, like shock shocked. What the hell is happening? That’s one of the worst decisions I’ve ever seen. EVER.”
The case was heard on Wednesday by an independent disciplinary panel, who directed the fine be paid to charity.
“Mr Nowell accepted his tweet, which was viewed many hundreds of thousands of times, was not fair comment and crossed the line of what is acceptable by a person with his considerable status in the game,” said Matthew O’Grady, who chaired the panel.