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Russian ban for O’Brien attack

RUSSIA’s Valery Tsnobiladze has been suspended for three weeks for a headbutt in last Sunday’s 62-12 World Cup loss to Ireland.

Hooker Tsnobiladze denied the charge at a hearing today, but World Cup judicial officer Jeff Blackett watched TV footage, and reviewed evidence from Tsnobiladze and Ireland flanker Sean O’Brien, before he ruled that the Russian was not free to play until October 17.

Blackett noted the incident was reckless but not deliberate and reduced Tsnobiladze’s potential sanction by a week because of his previously good disciplinary record.