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Warburton handed three-week ban

Wales captain Sam Warburton has been banned for three weeks after he was sent off in the World Cup semi-final defeat against France.

Flanker Warburton admitted committing "a dangerous tip tackle" on France wing Vincent Clerc when he appeared at a World Cup disciplinary hearing on Sunday.

He can resume playing again on November 7 and will miss Wales' appearance in the World Cup third place play-off game next Friday, although he has 48 hours in which to lodge any appeal.

Tackles involving a player being lifted and tipped horizontally and then forced, or dropped, to the ground are illegal and constitute dangerous play, the International Rugby Board had previously ruled.

An IRB memorandum issued more than two years ago stated that such tackles "must be dealt with severely by referees and those involved in the off-field disciplinary process".

The independent judicial officer, England's Christopher Quinlan QC, concluded that the offence was mid-range on the scale of seriousness, which has an entry point of six weeks.

He found that there were no aggravating features and there were compelling mitigating features, including the player's admission, outstanding character and disciplinary record and remorse, which saw the suspension cut in half.

Warburton will be available for the start of Cardiff Blues' Heineken Cup campaign, which begins with an away game against Paris-based Racing Metro on November 11.

Warburton said after the verdict: "Obviously I'm very disappointed but all my attention and focus now goes towards the players playing on Friday and supporting them the best I can."

He was accompanied at the hearing by Rhodri Lewis, the Welsh Rugby Union's head of legal affairs, who added: "The WRU respects the process and will not be commenting on the detail of the hearing. We are obviously, naturally, disappointed for Sam that he will not be able to play on Friday. Our focus now moves towards Friday's match."


From Belfast Telegraph