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Zander Fagerson's Six Nations campaign is over following 4-game ban

By Liam Heagney

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Scotland tighthead Zander Fagerson has become the second red-carded player in the 2021 Guinness Six Nations championship to be given a hefty ban, the forward’s four-match suspension ruling him out of the remainder of his country’s campaign plus one club match with Glasgow Warriors.

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Fagerson was sent off in the second half of last Saturday’s Murrayfield defeat to Wales and he will now miss Scotland’s matches versus France, Ireland and Italy along with one further fixture that is still to be determined. His costly suspension follows the campaign-ruining ban handed down to Ireland’s Peter O’Mahony for his red card the previous week versus the Welsh, the Irish flanker getting ruled out of three of his country’s matches. 

A Six Nations statement announcing the Fagerson ban on Tuesday night read: “The Scotland No3 Zander Fagerson appeared before an independent disciplinary committee via a Zoom call on Tuesday.

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“Fagerson had received a red card in the match between Scotland and Wales for an infringement of law 9.20(a) (a player must not charge into a ruck or maul; charging includes any contact made without binding onto another player in the ruck or maul) and 9.20 (b) (a player must not make contact with an opponent above the line of the shoulders).

“He made contact with Wales prop Wyn Jones. Fagerson accepted that he had committed an act of foul play, but did not accept that it warranted a red card. The disciplinary committee, which comprised David Hurley (Ireland), Becky Essex (England) and Stefan Terblanche (South Africa), heard evidence and submissions from Fagerson, Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend, and legal counsel Bruce Caldow (as well as from the Six Nations’ legal representative). 

“The disciplinary committee found that Fagerson had committed an act of foul play (an infringement of law 9.20(a) and that it had warranted a red card. The committee found that the act of foul play warranted a mid-range entry point (six weeks) and reduced that by two weeks to take account of mitigating factors (including his admission of foul play, good disciplinary record and remorse).

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“Fagerson is therefore suspended for four weeks. Given his playing schedule, he will miss the three Scotland matches in the Six Nations against France, Ireland and Italy, and one further match to be determined. He was reminded of his right of appeal.”

Questions will now be asked, though, as to why the Fagerson red card merited a longer suspension than the O’Mahony red. In the panel decision last week for the O’Mahony suspension, the statement read:  “The player admitted the act of dangerous play in a ruck and that the offending merited a red card. The player did not seek to challenge the referee’s decision. The committee considered all the relevant evidence, including the player’s oral evidence, together with the clips of the incident.

“The committee determined that the entry point was mid-range, which for this offence is six weeks. It was accepted that there were no off-field aggravating factors and the disciplinary committee concluded after careful consideration of the player’s record and conduct in the hearing that the player was entitled to a 50 per cent reduction of sanction in mitigation.”

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Zander Fagerson's Six Nations campaign is over following 4-game ban

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