Higginbotham banned after striking McCaw
Australia forward Scott Higginbotham has been banned for two matches after admitting two charges of striking New Zealand captain Richie McCaw.
Higginbotham has been ruled out of the Wallabies' next two Tests, against France on November 10 and England a week later. He was charged with kneeing and head-butting McCaw during Saturday's Bledisloe Test match in Brisbane, which ended in an 18-18 draw.
Higginbotham faced a hearing on Sunday night, with the 26-year-old pleading guilty to both counts. He will be able to play against Italy on November 24 and Wales on December 1.
Higginbotham's availability for those games will come as a major boost for the injury-hit Wallabies, who will be without skipper James Horwill as well as Quade Cooper, Will Genia and James O'Connor.
Meanwhile, Connacht have a number of injury concerns ahead of Saturday's Pro12 game away to Ospreys. Robbie Henshaw, Tiernan O'Halloran, Mata Fifita, Eoin Griffin, Dave McSharry, Mike McCarthy and Adrian Flavin all picked up knocks in a bruising encounter against Harlequins in the Heineken Cup.
"This is our ninth consecutive match weekend, there is obviously a big demand on our squad and we are looking at some injuries," said head coach Eric Elwood. "But we're very much looking forward to the Ospreys game."