Veteran London Irish hooker Motu Matu’u has been banned for six matches following his red card in last weekend’s Gallagher Premiership match away to Exeter Chiefs. He was sent off by referee Jack Makepeace in the 71st minute of the match at Sandy Park.

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This was for a dangerous tackle on Ian Whitten, contrary to World Rugby law 9.13. Matu’u accepted the charge and was given a six-week suspension by the independent disciplinary panel comprising Mike Hamlin (chair) with Matthew O’Grady and Mitch Read. He is free to play again on March 29.

The independent disciplinary panel said: “The player admitted the foul play and that the offending merited a red card. He did not challenge the referee’s report or decision.

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The Six Nations Isuzu player of the round award

“The panel considered all the relevant evidence, clips including the player’s oral evidence. In assessing the seriousness of the offending the disciplinary panel determined that the offending was reckless and involved reckless and illegal contact with the opposition player’s head who was removed from the field of play.

“The entry point is a mid-range entry point of six weeks. There were aggravating factors present and an additional two weeks were added to the mid-range entry point.

“With regard to mitigation factors the player is entitled to 30 per cent or two weeks. The period of suspension is therefore six weeks from February 13 to March 28. He will be suspended from playing in the following matches: vs Bristol, vs Wasps, vs Leicester, vs Worcester, vs Sale and vs Bath. The player is free to play again on March 29. The panel’s findings and reasons will be set out in the written judgment.”

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Set to turn 34 in April, Matu’u joined London Irish for their 2018/19 Championship season and was part of the Samoa squad at the 2019 World Cup in Japan where he picked up a three-match ban for a dangerous tackle.

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