When Sonny Nickle was handed a nine-match ban for tackle that broke Robbie Mears’ jaw

On this day in 2001, St Helens forward Sonny Nickle was banned for six months for a tackle that broke the jaw of Leeds hooker Robbie Mears, which was later reduced to a nine-match ban. 

Nickle was found guilty of using the forearm to the head of an opponent and was suspended for six months for the tackle in Saints’ 23-18 defeat to the Rhinos.

Saints successfully appealed the suspension, and the ban was reduced from six months to nine matches.

Nickle then joined Barrow but didn’t play a game for the Raiders before returning to St Helens. In total, Nickle made 232 appearances for Saints, where he was a fan’s favourite.

The prop earned six caps for Great Britain and also featured for Hunslet, Sheffield, Bradford and Leigh during his playing career.

Meanwhile, Australian hooker Mears left Leeds at the end of that season to move to NRL outfit Wests Tigers before later returning for a spell in Super League with Leigh in 2005.

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