France prop Uini Atonio has been banned following his citing for foul play during last Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations match in Dublin. The front-rower was yellow carded on 26 minutes for a high shot on Ireland’s Rob Herring, a decision that ignited controversy as many felt referee Wayne Barnes had got it wrong and should have instead brandished the red card.
Atonio was cited on Monday for the tackle and he has now received a three-game ban that can be reduced to two if he successfully completes tackle school. Successful completion would free him for selection in the final France match of the Six Nations, the March 18 game at home to Wales.
A statement read: “France prop Uini Atonio appeared before an independent judicial committee via video link having been cited for an act of foul play contrary to law 9.13. The independent judicial committee consisting of Judge Mike Mika (chair, New Zealand), Leon Lloyd (England) and Stefan Terblanche (South Africa) heard the case, considering all the available evidence and submissions from the player and his representatives.
“The player admitted that he had committed an act of foul play worthy of a red card. Having reviewed all the evidence, the committee accepted the player’s admission that the tackle on Ireland No2 was foul play. His shoulder made contact with Ireland No2’s neck/face as described in the citing commissioner’s report and therefore reached the red card threshold.
“On that basis, the committee applied World Rugby’s mandatory minimum mid-range entry point for foul play resulting in contact with the head. This resulted in a starting point of a six-week suspension.