Aviva Premiership Rugby Football Union club Gloucester Rugby are bracing themselves for a hearing with the Rugby Football Union (RFU) over the alleged fielding of a player who was not registered to the club and could face a point’s deduction if the RFU finds itself guilty.
The Cherry and Whites named Argentine lock Mariano Galarza in the starting fifteen for the Aviva Premiership match against the Sale Sharks towards the end of March despite the player not having the effective registration to play a match. He was signed by the club at the end of February but a long term injury meant the 28 year old wait had to wait a month before making his debut for the club.
In a similar incident in 2013, the London Welsh was hailed up by the RFU for fielding an ineligible player in Tyson Keats in a Premiership match and fined £ 15,000 as well as being docked 5 points as they suffered relegation to the Rugby Football Union Championship that campaign.
It is believed that the long term injury that Galarza had suffered as well as an administrative oversight on the part of Gloucester Rugby saw them overlook the registration process. It is being reported that the club has admitted to the breach and has said that it will co-operate with the RFU. The player, following his registration after the incident, played for the club during their European Challenge Cup victory over fellow English club the Exeter Chiefs earlier in April.
According to reports, while many are citing the example of the London Welsh, the RFU might not be as harsh with Gloucester and will cite the example of the Worcester Warriors being docked just one point for fielding the ineligible Oliver Frost against Saracens FC in a LV=Cup match in 2012.