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'I was too upright': Ribbans' England debut hopes recede following ban

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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Northampton lock David Ribbans is now unlikely to make a Test debut for England this July as he has been given a three-game suspension following his first-half red card in last Sunday’s Gallagher Premiership defeat to defending champions Exeter at Franklin’s Gardens. 

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The South African had recently been called up to the England squad in March for the final two rounds of the Guinness Six Nations following an injury to clubmate Courtney Lawes. 

Ribbans didn’t make it into either of Eddie Jones’ matchday squads against France or Ireland but his Northampton form had him in contention to be included in the England squad that is set to be announced this Thursday for the A match versus Scotland followed by the Twickenham Test games against the USA and Canada. 

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However, Ribbans probably won’t be selected in the squad due to his suspension following last Sunday’s sending off for a collision with Exeter’s Luke Cowan-Dickie. An RFU media release stated: “David Ribbans of Northampton Saints had his case heard on papers yesterday [Monday] by Ian Unsworth sitting as a sole judicial officer.

“Ribbans was shown a red card by referee Craig Maxwell-Keys in the 14th minute of the match between Northampton and Exeter on Sunday. This was for dangerous tackling, contrary to World Rugby law 9.13. The player accepted the charge and was given a three-week suspension by Unsworth. He is free to play again on September 14.”

Ribbans statement highlighted that he accepted full responsibility for the incident and that his actions warranted a red card. He said: “My intention throughout was to execute a fair and safe tackle of Exeter No2. Looking at the video clip of the incident after the event, I can accept that I was too upright in the tackle and unfortunately made contact above the line of the shoulder. 

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“Due to a delay in the ball getting to the player I misjudged my height and accidentally made contact with the Exeter No2 above the line of the shoulder, as stated. I had no intention whatsoever to make contact with Exeter 2’s head.”

Ribbans, who apologised directly to Cowan-Dickie, had not yet been picked in the England squad so his ban currently covers Northampton games, this Saturday’s Premiership trip to Bath and pre-season matches versus Bedford and Ospreys. If he was to be chosen by England, he would be available for their third match against Canada on July 10.       

The RFU statement added: “Any change in these fixtures should be notified to the RFU as soon as the change becomes known. The intention is that the player should be suspended from playing for three meaningful matches.”

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'I was too upright': Ribbans' England debut hopes recede following ban

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