D-Day for Dupuy gouging ban appeal
France scrum-half Julien Dupuy will face an appeal committee this morning hoping for a reduction in his 24-week ban for eye-gouging Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris during the Heineken Cup game at Ravenhill on December 12.
With Dupuy (26) having admitted the offence, his club had expected a ban at the lower end of the scale. Instead, ERC's independent judicial officer Jeff Blackett deemed that the actions merited a high-level sanction and imposed a 40-week ban which, with mitigating factors, was reduced by 40pc.
If the ban is upheld, or even increased, Stade Francais are likely to take the case to the Comite National Olympique et Sportif Francais (CNOSF).
That body ruled in favour of Marius Tincu, the Perpignan hooker banned a year ago for 18 weeks after being cited for gouging in a Heineken Cup game against the Ospreys. CNOSF ruled that he be allowed to play in France and that the ban should apply only to the Heineken Cup.
Dupuy's team-mate David Attoub will also appear before a disciplinary panel today accused of the same offence against Ferris, after his initial hearing was adjourned.
Dupuy only made his international debut in June, but quickly established himself as France's first-choice scrum-half. Les Bleus could also be without injured Biarritz trio Damien Traille, Dimitri Yachvili and Fabien Barcella for their Six Nations opener against Scotland on February 7.