Wales hopes take body blow as Evans hit with 12-week ban
IAN Evans will miss Wales' entire Six Nations campaign after receiving a 12-week ban for stamping.
Wales coach Warren Gatland now looks set to choose between Luke Charteris and Andrew Coombs as Alun-Wyn Jones' second-row partner to face opening Six Nations opponents Italy in Cardiff next week.
Ospreys lock Evans was sent off for stamping on Leinster forward Mike McCarthy in their Heineken Cup clash in Dublin last Friday.
Evans admitted the offence at a disciplinary hearing in Dublin on Thursday. He cannot play again until April 21.
And Evans' punishment was accompanied by criticism of his actions from independent judicial officer Jeremy Summers.
In a statement, ERC said: "In upholding the red card decision, the judicial officer stated that the incident involved at least two stamps which connected with McCarthy's head and which resulted in a serious facial wound.
"Mr Summers also stated that there was no place in the game for conduct of this kind – a view which Evans himself accepted.
"The judicial officer determined that the offence was at the top end of the IRB (International Rugby Board) sanctions for offences of this nature and selected 16 weeks as the appropriate entry point.
"As there were no aggravating factors, he reduced the suspension by four weeks due to the player's guilty plea, good conduct and remorse during the hearing.
"The period of suspension runs over 13 weeks, taking into account one week during the Six Nations period when the player would not have played."
Evans (29) has won 32 caps and toured Australia with the Lions last summer. He would have been a key part of Gatland's Six Nations plans, having established a strong second-row partnership at regional and Test level with Jones.
Meanwhile, Connacht prop Nathan White has received a three-week suspension after being cited for stamping on Saracens centre Brad Barritt during the Heineken Cup clash last Saturday.
Independent judicial officer Roger Morris heard evidence and submissions from White, who pleaded guilty to the offence.
ERC said: "The judicial officer determined that the offence was in the mid-range (five weeks).
"As there were no aggravating factors, he reduced the suspension by two weeks due to the player's guilty plea, his clean record and good conduct and remorse.
"The three-week suspension will run over a five-week term to take into account two weeks during the period when the player would not have played. White is free to play from February 12."