22 Feb 2015

French lock banned for 10 weeks

2:42 pm on 22 February 2015

The French lock Pascal Pape has been banned for 10 weeks, ruling him out of the rest of the Six Nations rugby competition, for kneeing Ireland's Jamie Heaslip in the back during their 18-11 loss in Dublin last weekend.

The France lock Pascal Pape.

The France lock Pascal Pape. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Pape smashed his knee into the back of Heaslip as he hit a ruck in the 52nd minute of the Dublin clash, with the Irishman later discovering he had cracked three vertebrae, an injury likely to end his involvement in the championship.

The referee issued a yellow card at the time but Pape was later cited for allegedly striking the lower back of an opponent with his knee.

The Six Nations Disciplinary Committee said in a statement Pape had "committed an act of foul play which merited a red card rather than the on-field yellow given by the match officials".

The Disciplinary Committee decided that the offence should be categorised at the top end of World Rugby's scale of seriousness and set an entry point of a 15-week suspension.

Pape has already apologised to Heaslip via Twitter, with the Irishman accepting the gesture, also via Twitter, saying "Rugby is a physical game and one accepts that can happen. I accept your apology completely."

France's next game is at home to Wales on February 28th, when Romain Taofifenua is likely to start at lock in place of Pape.

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