French prop Mohamed Haouas will have been deemed to have served a ban for punching when rugby returns following the coronavirus lockdown.

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Haouas had been banned for three weeks following his red card in Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam-ruining defeat to Scotland.

The 127kg Montpellier prop levelled Scotland backrow Jamie Ritchie with a fine right hand, but the Fédération Française de Rugby (FFR) have said his ban will have been spent when rugby does return.

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The move follows news that England Joe Marler also won’t miss any actual games following his ten-week ban for an incident involving Welsh skipper Alun Wyn Jones. Many critics pointed to Marler getting a 10 week ban for a non-violent act and Haouas getting 3 weeks for an obviously violent act was indicative of the unbalanced nature of the disciplinary proceedings.

Under World Rugby guidelines, each week of a ban should correspond to a match, with Marler’s suspension set to cover a 12-week period during which the Harlequins player had been due to play 10 times.

The ban expires on June 7 and that time frame will not change despite the suspension in play due to the pandemic having wiped out the fixtures which Marler was due to miss. It had been previously reported that Marler was weighing up the prospect of retirement with immediate effect after he received widespread criticism on social media for his indiscretion.

That led him to temporarily suspend his Twitter and Instagram accounts, although both accounts are now active again.

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The Gallagher Premiership will not resume before June 27 at the earliest.

England centre Manu Tuilagi has already completed a four-week ban for a dangerous tackle on George North in the same game. That ban expired on April 14.

– additional reporting PA

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