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Scotland prop Zander Fagerson given hearing date

By PA
Matt Fagerson and Zander Fagerson in action for Scotland during an Autumn Nations Series match between Scotland and Tonga at BT Murrayfield, on October 30, 2021, in Edinburgh, Scotland. The quality drop below Zander Fagerson and WP Nel is a concern for Gregor Townsend (Photo by Ross MacDonald/Getty Images)

Scotland prop Zander Fagerson will discover his World Cup fate at a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday.

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Fagerson was sent off in the 50th minute of Scotland’s comeback victory over France at Scottish Gas Murrayfield on Saturday following a high challenge on Les Bleus hooker Pierre Bourgarit.

The Glasgow player was penalised for dangerous play by charging into a ruck and with two warm-up games left before Scotland kick off their World Cup campaign against South Africa in Marseille on September 10, he is in danger of missing at least part of the tournament.

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The 27-year-old will attend the hearing via video conference before an independent judicial committee consisting of chairman Mike Hamlin, a former Gloucester player and referee and retired lawyer, former Dragons and Scarlets player Jamie Corsi and former international referee Juan Pablo Spirandelli of Argentina.

Fagerson was initially yellow-carded before having his punishment upgraded to a red a few minutes later after a review via the newly-implemented bunker system.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend said after the game: “If it’s a timing issue or a height issue, yes, we have to make sure that we don’t get those head knocks, head collisions but there was no malice or foul play.

“It’s more from the rugby incident of mistiming on a ruck clear so we just have to hope that the judiciary see it the same as what we see.”

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Fagerson was handed a four-game ban after being sent off following a similar incident against Wales in the 2021 Six Nations, but Townsend does not believe this offence was as severe.

Townsend faces further concerns over the fitness of Ben White and Jamie Ritchie.

Scrum-half White is having an ankle injury assessed after he limped off in clear discomfort on Saturday, while Ritchie has played no part in either of the two warm-up matches so far due to a calf issue. The captain is hoping to get some game time in France this weekend or at home to Georgia two weeks later.

There were no doubt some further concerns for Townsend over his World Cup preparations at half-time of Saturday’s clash with France as his side trailed 21-3, before notching 22 unanswered points after the break.

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Hooker Dave Cherry was delighted to play his part in the fightback after entering the fray in the 57th minute and scoring Scotland’s third try.

“It’s always pleasing when things go well for yourself,” the Edinburgh forward said.

“I was just focused on doing my job. As a bench player, your objective is to bring energy and try and execute your role. That’s all I was focused on.”

Scotland are likely to face a stronger France side in St Etienne on Saturday.

Cherry said: “Every international game is tough, no matter who is on the pitch.

“We’re really pleased with the win and looking forward to the next game. Who knows what team France will put out? We’ll just focus on ourselves and see what comes.”

Cherry is battling with Edinburgh team-mate Stuart McInally for a hooker berth with George Turner and Ewan Ashman expected to make the squad.

“I’m not getting too far ahead of himself,” the 32-year-old said. “What will be, will be.

“That’s all I can do. You can probably question yourself a little bit when it gets to this stage but you just have to remind yourself that you can only do what you can do and try and perform on the pitch and then it’s up to Gregor and the rest of the coaching staff what happens.”

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