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Rugby player cleared of biting in South Africa

September 9, 2013

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — A rugby player in South Africa has had his seven-game ban for biting overturned on appeal by arguing he had his mouth open when scoring a try and his teeth sunk into an opponent’s arm accidentally.

Australian Rory Arnold, who plays lock for Griquas in the domestic Currie Cup, was cleared Monday by a disciplinary committee and can continue playing immediately. He was sent off in the Aug. 31 game after a television review because Cheetahs hooker Ethienne Reynecke showed bite marks on his arm to the referee.

Arnold successfully argued that he had his mouth open when he dived over to score the second-half try and the committee found it was possible that downward pressure on his head from a tackle forced his teeth into Reynecke’s arm.

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