Scotland and Racing 92 flyhalf Finn Russell has been handed a three-week ban.
The Scottish playmaker was shown a red card in last Friday’s Six Nations win against France.
Russell was sent off by referee Wayne Barnes in the 71st minute after catching France’s Brice Dulin near the throat area with his elbow as he attempted to fend the fullback’s tackle.
Russell was deemed to have infringed Law 9.12, which states: ‘A player must not physically or verbally abuse anyone. Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, biting, punching, contact with the eye or eye area, striking with any part of the arm (including stiff-arm tackles), shoulder, head or knee(s), stamping, trampling, tripping or kicking).’
The Scottish flyhalf accepted he had committed an act of foul play and that his actions had warranted a red card. However, he did not accept he had ‘struck’ Dulin intentionally. Russell argued that the foul play should have been categorised as an infringement of Law 9.24 – A ball-carrier is permitted to hand off an opponent provided excessive force is not used.
A Six Nations statement read: “The Disciplinary Committee identified no aggravating features. In terms of mitigation, the Disciplinary Committee gave credit for Mr Russell’s prompt acceptance that his actions had constituted foul play and been worthy of a red card, his disciplinary record, his attitude to the disciplinary process before and during the hearing, and his clear remorse (shown by his response to Mr Dulin on the pitch), and reduced the suspension by three weeks so that the final period of suspension is three weeks.
“The Disciplinary Committee determined that the suspension should cover three matches to be played by Racing 92 in the EPCR Champions Cup and TOP14, respectively.
“Since one of those matches (in the EPCR Champions Cup on 11 April 2021) is contingent on the result of other matches, the suspension will end on either 18 April 2021 or 25 April 2021. Mr Russell will be free to play again on Monday, 19 April 2021 or Monday, 26 April 2021.”