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Youngs' ban isn't all bad

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Youngs banned but will still have role to play in Leicester's battle against relegation

Tom Youngs might still have a crucial role to play in Leicester’s fight against relegation as Tigers’ final match of the campaign against Bath will take place after his suspension ends.

The Leicester skipper appeared before an independent disciplinary panel in London on Wednesday after he was shown a red card by referee Tom Foley in the 56th minute of the match against Exeter last Saturday.

This was for making contact with Chiefs lock Ollie Atkins’ head in a ruck contrary to Law 9.20(a) – dangerous play in a ruck or maul. 
 
Youngs accepted the charge and was given a three-week suspension by the independent panel comprising Philip Evans, with Richard Whittam and Chris Skaife. He is free to play again on May 7 taking into account Leicester Tigers’ upcoming fixtures.

Panel chair Evans said: “The player accepted the charge and the facts as alleged including having made contact with his opponent’s head.

“The panel found the appropriate starting point was six weeks (mid-range). Given his early plea of guilty, his candid evidence to the panel, obvious remorse, playing record and personal mitigation including off-field mitigating factors, exceptionally, the panel felt able to reduce the period of suspension by three weeks.”

Leicester boss Geordan Murphy had accepted Youngs’ dismissal at the weekend, but wanted to see more consistency from referees in that area.

“It’s a difficult call,” he admitted at the time. “It’s a red card to the letter of the law and I get that, especially for player safety, but it just needs to be refereed across the board. I see that incident a lot in the Premiership and it’s not a red card.”

Leicester are just five points clear of bottom side Newcastle, whom they face in the Premiership at Kingston Park on Friday night.

Youngs last week told RugbyPass: “We haven’t performed well enough this season, haven’t got enough wins and we probably do deserve to be where we have been. There are reasons around that, but we fully deserve to be where we are at.

“We have to accept that, realise where we are and understand how a club of this nature is not used to being down there but we are. We have to deal with it.”

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Youngs banned but will still have role to play in Leicester's battle against relegation