France's Haouas gets three-week ban for Ritchie punch in Six Nations

London (AFP) –


France prop Mohamed Haouas was given a three-week ban by a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday after being sent off for punching Scotland's Jamie Ritchie in a Six Nations international at Murrayfield last weekend.

Haouas, making just his fourth Test appearance, let fly at the flanker in the 36th minute of Sunday's match in Edinburgh after a melee and, following an extensive review by the television match official, was shown a red card by New Zealand referee Paul Williams.

France were leading 7-6 at the time but eventually lost 28-17, with defeat ending their hopes of a Grand Slam.

A Six Nations statement said Haouas "accepted he committed an act of foul play that warranted a red card".

The disciplinary committee that heard his case in London found the act of foul play warranted a mid-range entry point (six weeks' suspension) and reduced that by three weeks to "take account of mitigating factors (including good conduct, guilty plea and relative inexperience at international level)".

Haouas is free to resume playing on Tuesday, April 14. He was reminded of his right of appeal.

France team manager Raphael Ibanez said Monday that Haouas had been gouged in the build-up to the incident that saw him sent off but it was not clear from the Six Nations whether this was one of the "mitigating factors" the disciplinary committee took into account when deciding the length of his ban.

France's final match of the 2020 Six Nations was meant to be on Saturday, at home to Ireland, but it has been postponed due to the coronavirus, with a new date yet to be announced.