Welsh prop hit with eight-week ban for 'making contact' with Dan Cole's eye
Wales prop Tomas Francis has received an eight-week ban for making contact with the "eye or eye area" of England forward Dan Cole during last Saturday's RBS 6 Nations game at Twickenham.
Francis, 23, appeared before an independent Six Nations disciplinary committee in London on Tuesday after being cited following the incident.
His suspension means that he cannot play again until May 9, ruling him out of Wales' Six Nations clash against Italy in four days' time - he had been named among the replacements - and the rest of his club Exeter's regular season.
Francis, who has the right of appeal, is now set to be replaced on the bench against Italy by Ospreys tighthead Aaron Jarvis.
A statement released on behalf of the SIx Nations read: "The disciplinary committee, chaired by Pat Barriscale (Ireland) along with Jean-Philippe Lachaume (France) and George Spotswood (Ireland), having considered all of the evidence, including various clips of TV footage, and listened to representations by, and on behalf, of Mr Francis, found that he had recklessly made contact with the eye or eye area of an opponent, which had been worthy of a red card.
"The disciplinary committee heard submissions on sanction before concluding that the offending be characterised as being at the lower end of World Rugby's scale of seriousness for this type of offending, which has an entry point of 12 weeks.
"The disciplinary committee was then required to consider aggravating and mitigating factors, which it did before concluding that the appropriate sanction be a playing suspension of eight weeks.
"Mr Francis is free to play again on Monday, 9 May 2016. He was reminded of his right of appeal."
Francis had gone on during the second half at Twickenham as Wales looked to recover from a 16-0 interval deficit.
Following the incident, though, match referee Craig Joubert took no action against the player in terms of a yellow or red card after reviewing it on big screen replays inside the stadium.