Northampton have lost the services of Api Ratuniyarawa for their next four games following a red card in the 49th minute of the Saints’ Gallagher Premiership home defeat to London Irish last Friday night. 

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The Fijian appeared before an independent disciplinary panel on Tuesday night and a citing for dangerous play at a ruck was upheld by the independent panel comprising Charles Cuthbert (chair) with Mitch Read and Leon Loyd. He is free to play again on March 10.

Cuthbert said: “The player did not accept that he had committed an act of foul play by dangerously charging into the ruck. He argued that he had bound on to the London Irish player. This was not accepted by the panel after reviewing the footage.

“The panel found it was a reckless action. While the panel were satisfied that there was no intent to cause injury, his shoulder did make contact to the face of the London Irish player who confirmed he suffered no injury as a result. 

“The mandatory mid-range entry point applies where there is contact with the head and the panel found no factors to merit a top-end entry point.

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“The player was allowed mitigation for his clear disciplinary record over a long professional career at a high level. He apologised both and off-field to the London Irish player involved and his own team and is engaged in community activities and coaching. 

“He was allowed two weeks in mitigation and is therefore suspended for four weeks. The four-week sanction covers Northampton Saints next four meaningful fixtures.”

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