England international Denny Solomona has been banned for four weeks over a homophobic slur during a Premiership match between Sale Sharks and Worcester Warriors.
An RFU disciplinary hearing charged him “with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the union or the game, contrary to RFU Rule 5.12.”
The incident happened during the second half of the match played on Saturday March 24th.
Solomona contested the charge but was found guilty by the three-person independent panel.
An initial six week ban was reduced to a four week suspension for “mitigating features”.
It rules the winger out until May 8th, which effectively ends Solomona’s domestic season, unless Sale secure a shock top four spot and a place in the Aviva Premiership playoffs. The Sharks are currently seventh, six points behind fourth-placed Newcastle Falcons.
Panel chair Samantha Hillas said: “The panel found that the player used language that was verbally abusive on more than one occasion in quick succession.
“The comments were offensive and have no place on the rugby field. However, the Panel accepted that they were said in the heat of the moment rather than premeditated.
“For these reasons, the panel deemed it was a low end entry point which carries a six week suspension as a starting point. The player did not accept the charge but all other mitigating features were present. The panel therefore reduced the sanction to four weeks.”
Sale Sharks also released a statement accepting the ruling, “Although disappointed, Denny Solomona and the club have accepted the four-week ban handed down to Denny for conduct prejudicial to the interests of the union or the game.”
It isn’t the first time that Solomona has landed himself in trouble, he was dismissed from an England training camp last August due to “team culture issues”, after a night out drinking.
He did return to the England set-up during the Natwest 6 Nations, when he was called up ahead of the France game, but didn’t make an appearance.
The latest indiscretion may have an impact on selection for England’s tour to South Africa. They face the Springboks in a three-Test series, starting on June 9th in Johannesburg.
In other news: Sevens specialist Ben Ryan says England attack coach role “not big enough for him”
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