Decision emerges from banned Scotland prop's appeal hearing
UPDATE: A decision has finally emerged from the Zander Fagerson appeal hearing that was held on Tuesday.
Six Nations officials released a statement on Thursday that upheld the original decision surrounding the Scotland prop’s red card but admitting that matches for his club Glasgow should count towards his four-game ban.
When Fagerson’s suspension was announced last week following his sending-off for Scotland against Wales at Murrayfield on February 13, it was outlined that the prop’s four-game ban would cover his country’s three remaining Six Nations games and one club match once the Six Nations was over.
However, Fagerson’s appeal hearing heard that Glasgow matches in the fallow weekends in the Six Nations – on February 19 versus Ulster and against Zebre on March 6 – should count towards his suspension, potentially freeing the prop to play for Scotland before the end of the season’s Six Nations tournament.
However, the situation surrounding which games Fagerson will miss has since been complicated by the postponement of this weekend’s France versus Scotland match in Paris.
The verdict from the appeal hearing read: “At Tuesday’s hearing, the appeal committee heard submissions from Fagerson and his legal counsel Bruce Caldow, as well as from the Six Nations legal representative.
“Fagerson challenged a number of the disciplinary committee’s findings, including that he had infringed law 9.20(a), that his act of foul play had warranted a red card, that he had made ‘direct’ contact with Wyn Jones’ head, that the mitigating factors allowed him a reduction in his suspension of just two weeks, and that the two Glasgow matches in the Pro14 (to be played on the fallow weekends in the Six Nations) should ‘count’ towards his suspension.
“The appeal committee were not satisfied that Fagerson had established that the disciplinary committee had been wrong in upholding the red card and therefore dismissed that part of the appeal.
“The appeal committee were also not persuaded that the disciplinary committee had been wrong in arriving at a suspension of four weeks. However, the appeal committee was satisfied that the disciplinary committee had not given appropriate weight to the evidence before it about the matches to be covered by the period of suspension.
“Necessarily, decisions on matches to be covered by suspensions are fact-sensitive and player-specific. On the basis of all the evidence, the appeal committee was satisfied that the suspension should have covered the Glasgow matches against Ulster and Zebre, with the effect that the Fagerson suspension currently applies to the following matches:
* February 19: Ulster
* February 28: France (subsequently postponed)
* March 6: Zebre
* March 14: Ireland
“Due to the postponement of the France vs Scotland match, the appeal committee will have the opportunity to review Fagerson’s playing schedule and consider the consequences of the postponement.”
By Liam Heagney, @RugbyPass