Thursday 14 December 2017

Scotland's Finn Russell banned for two weeks for dangerous tackle

Dan Biggar of Wales is taken out in the air by Finn Russell of Scotland during the RBS Six Nations match between Scotland and Wales at Murrayfield
Dan Biggar of Wales is taken out in the air by Finn Russell of Scotland during the RBS Six Nations match between Scotland and Wales at Murrayfield

Nick Purewal

Fly-half Finn Russell will miss Scotland's RBS 6 Nations match against Italy after being suspended for two weeks.

The 22-year-old was handed a three-week ban, reduced by a week for his clean record, after appearing before a disciplinary panel in London on Wednesday.

Russell avoided a lengthy ban as the Six Nations' disciplinary officers judged his tackle on Dan Biggar in Sunday's 26-23 defeat to Wales to be "reckless rather than deliberate".

Russell collided with Biggar as his Wales counterpart leapt for a high ball during the first half of Scotland's slender Murrayfield defeat at the weekend.

Ospreys playmaker Biggar landed in a heap, but avoided serious injury and was able to continue.

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New Zealand referee Glen Jackson sin-binned Russell, but a Six Nations disciplinary committee ruled the offence warranted a red card.

"The disciplinary committee decided that the offence was reckless rather than deliberate," read a Six Nations statement.

"The committee considered it at the lower end of World Rugby's scale of seriousness, carrying a three-week suspension.

"It noted the absence of aggravating factors and the existence of certain mitigating factors, including the player's clear disciplinary record, in applying a one-week reduction from the entry point."

Scotland host Italy at Murrayfield in a third-round Six Nations tie on Saturday, February 28.

Russell will miss that clash, but will be available for the final two matches, against England and Ireland.

The Scottish Rugby Union soon announced its intention to appeal against Russell's punishment.

A statement read: "We are disappointed by the outcome of today's discipline committee meeting, and subsequent suspension of stand-off Finn Russell.

"Following the arrival of the written sanction later this week, we intend to appeal."

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