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Clark banned until November

Northampton forward Calum Clark has been banned for 32 weeks by Rugby Football Union disciplinary chiefs.

The England elite squad member is suspended until November 1 following an RFU hearing, English rugby's governing body announced. The ban runs from March 22.

Clark was cited after an incident during Northampton's LV= Cup final defeat against Leicester 11 days ago. The 22-year-old, who captained Saints in the final, was reported for an act contrary to good sportsmanship, allegedly hyperextending Leicester hooker Rob Hawkins' right arm.

It left Hawkins with a broken elbow and requiring surgery, sidelining him for the rest of this season.

In a statement the RFU said: "Calum Clark of Northampton Saints was this evening suspended for 32 weeks for an act contrary to good sportsmanship - Law 10(4) (M).

"Clark pleaded guilty to hyperextending the right arm of Leicester Tigers' Rob Hawkins during the LV= Cup final at Sixways on March 18.

"The suspension will run from March 22 to the November 1. He is free to play again on November 2 2012.

"Clark is ordered to pay hearing costs of £500. The full judgement will be made available tomorrow. The player has the right to appeal."

Clark is the second Northampton forward to receive a lengthy ban this week after club skipper and England hooker Dylan Hartley landed an eight-week suspension for biting Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris' finger during an RBS 6 Nations game on March 17.

Clark's suspension of more than seven months is among the longest handed out to a senior English player during rugby union's 16-and-a-half-year professional era.

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