Dupuy appeal yields one-week reduction
Stade Francais scrum-half Julien Dupuy has seen his 24-week ban for eye-gouging reduced by one week by an independent appeal committee.
The French international (right) had been handed the original ban for gouging Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris during Stade's 23-13 Heineken Cup defeat at Ravenhill on December 12.
The suspension was condemned at the time by Stade president Max Guazzini, who described it as "excessive, very political and anti-French," and Dupuy (pictured, right) chose to launch an appeal.
And while the committee did opt to reduce the sanction, it is unlikely to prove much comfort to Dupuy.
The 26-year-old, who joined Stade from Leicester in the summer of 2009, will miss France's entire Six Nations campaign despite the reduction.
Dupuy will be eligible to play again on May 27, effectively ruling him out of Stade's challenge for domestic and European honours.
The independent appeal committee found that Dupuy "had demonstrated that the original decision had been in error only in a limited and technical manner."
Dupuy's ban is in line with a toughening up of sanctions for gouging offences following the furore which surrounded the eight-week ban handed to South Africa flanker Schalk Burger for gouging Ireland winger Luke Fitzgerald.
Leinster flanker Shane Jennings received a 12-week ban earlier this season for gouging London Irish lock Nick Kennedy.