ONE of Kendal’s newest rugby stars has been banned from playing for five matches following a punch-up in the team’s latest RFU North Premier Division match.

Tight head prop Mark Irving threw a punch at one of the opposition players in the 78th minute of the game against Billingham at Mint Bridge on Saturday, November 3, in a moment of frustration.

Adam Morrison, who was the referee for the match, immediately showed the former Fylde player a red card and gave him his marching orders after he spotted Billingham’s number 8 player being punched in the head.

At a disciplinary hearing, the ban was originally set for 10 weeks. But because Irving had no prior offences on his record and pleaded guilty from the outset it has been reduced to five weeks.

Steve Whitehead, Kendal RUFC’s director of rugby, said that even though the Billingham player did not suffer from injury or require any treatment he understood the needs for the punishment to serve as a warning to all of his players about the RFU’s disciplinary guidelines.

“For those outside of rugby this punishment may seem harsh” he said, “But I think it simply highlights the importance and the RFU’s commitment on reducing the effects of head injuries within the modern game.

“It’s evident when you watch professional matches how significant the punishments are for any contact with the head, be it malicious or accidental. Both are now treated the same.

“Mark is very regretful for what he has done and it is testament to him that the ban has been reduced for his previous good record.”

Meanwhile, the club has welcomed another new player to the team with open arms.

Nathan McCloy, aged 22, a fly half from New Zealand has joined KRUFC along with fellow Kiwi Kirk Chettleburgh who joined the pack last month. McCloy will play at number 10 in this weekend’s away game at Rossendale.