Problems continue to pile up for struggling Carnegie

Yorkshire Carnegie have been hit with a one-point penalty in the British and Irish Cup for fielding an ineligible player.

Yorkshire Carnegie Rugby head coach Gary Mercer. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

The Headingley club, who have lost five of their opening seven games in the Championship, were found to be in breach of International Rugby Board regulations when naming Romanian winger Stephen Hihetah for the fixture against Aberavon at Brantingham Park on October 25.

Carnegie needed international clearance from the Romanian Rugby Union to field the player but at the time of the fixture, clearance had not been received by the RFU.

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The club were given a week to investigate and discovered that clearance was sent by the Romanian union to the player himself, but not the club or anyone else. It is understood that the club believed they had sufficient confirmation.

In dealing with the matter, the British and Irish Cup organising committee took into consideration that last season’s finalists Carnegie were in possession of some form of clearance. A statement from the committee read: “The panel were of the opinion that the IRB regulation was clear and that the clearance of a player was not completed until it had been received by the Union in which the player wished to play.

“Members of the panel, who had experience dealing with international clearances, expressed sympathy with Yorkshire but agreed that the club were in breach of competition regulations.

“The panel agreed that the appropriate sanction would be for Yorkshire Carnegie to be deducted one competition point.”

The decution drops Carnegie to eight points, six adrift of Pool 2 leaders Rotherham Titans.